May 25th, Explore the Unknown

Made plans to meet up with a friend of mine yesterday morning to fish water new to both of us, so new infact we both had a hard time finding the darn spot which ended up costing us a few minutes but nothing major. It is easy to fish the same spots you know, trust and rely on to provide that experience you want but it is worth your time to explore some place new. Head in with the expectation that it might be a bust but unless you see it first hand you’ll never really know what is out there. On stream arrival roughly 6:38am rigged and hiking by 7am. Neither of us were expecting to find the size water we did, way more than either of us were used to. The banks were covered with thick vegetation and it became clear very quickly that we were going to spend our time on this stream wading with the fishes. Larger, deeper, faster, uglier trout water lends itself to the streamer and we both agreed that the fish were going to perhaps be larger in size but fewer in number. We used [singlepic id=1730 w=330 h=250 float=right]weighted streamers to search the broken water, the deep water, the slack water, frankly it was cast to any place that you would live if you were a Driftless Area trout and hope someone was home.

After wading upstream a ways and dealing with a few unpleasantries (Barbed Wire, Nettles) we decided that this place was perhaps best left for a day when time was of little concern, where a guy might try to float down enjoying the day and catching the occasional trout here and there. That was not going to be today, at roughly 8:30am we did an about face and headed straight to the nearest spot that we knew held trout. Thinking to the SMB that we were fishing at the time of departure it made sense to target some easy pickin’s and hit up a rainbow hideout.

The second spot was not a total bust but it did not produce what I expected it to. Normally I have to beat the rainbows off the SMB with a stick but today that wasn’t the case. The rainbows would stalk it, turn on it, dart at it but never eat it. It’s hard to put that fly down when you see them come to your feet after it but never commit to dancing with you. If this scenario happens again and again I suggest you look at what the trout are doing and think twice before you spend all day trying to force feed the fish something they don’t want. After no fish on and perhaps a lost fly or two I was content with switching it up for a #16 Peacock and Partridge with a #20 Miracle Nymph trailer. Lifting my rod after my flies were sunk evoked responces from the Brown trout only and they were the dinkers. All these rainbows around and none of them want to taste my flies. After a bit Wendy B. and I moved downstream where we noticed a few [singlepic id=1735 w=340 h=260 float=left]rising trout, one in particular kept rising, over and over again. I’m tying a new fly on as I’m asking “is he still rising??” I was thinking of slapping on an Elk Hair Caddis but I saw the box of Gorilla flies that I had brought just in case.

I put the #18 Gorilla Lady on that rising trout and after two looks but no take it wasn’t looking good. Third time was a charm though and I picked that fish, stuck my bright red bug on it and sure enough, it ate it. Wendy B. is my witness, that and the picture pretty much says it all. Trout will eat a Lady Bug pattern. Much to still test here though, not sure if they ate it because it looked like a Lady Bug or because it happened to be presented in such a manner as to make it more palatable to the selective trout. One thing is for sure, you can’t miss this bright red fly as it’s floating high in the water. By the end that fly took three trout and although it needs a bit of a new paint job it can be easily re-[singlepic id=1740 w=340 h=260 float=right]colored to fish another day. Wendy B. and I parted ways around 11:30am and I split to check out one last spot before the day was to be finished.

I stopped here with the same goal in mind, tempt a few stocked rainbow trout with my SMB and hopefully have a blast in the process. Last year I caught several rainbows on nymphs and streamers in this spot but to my dismay I found not a single fish, oh yea wait one, single, individual, lone six inch trout. I put my fly in every crevasse that I thought might hold something but nothing, nothing but sand. I was prepared for this potential outcome and didn’t sweat it too much. Thunder and lightening were in the distance and it was time to get going. Walking past the plunge pool that I had been fishing with a straight upstream approach something caught my eye, a small pocket of slack water kind of in the middle of a large amount of flow. I cast one final time straight across into the most turbulant water stripping my streamer through that slack water and sure enough I felt my line tighten. At first I thought I snagged it but when my snag ran downstream at full force heading straight for a nasty looking cut bank I literally jumped in and had to run after it for a second before I was able to turn it away from the darkness. This fish is the reason why the net was sitting behind me, ready to rock. He ran once more and struggled as I forced him in but that is why I use 3x tippet when I fish the SMB now, so I can get those big ones in quick, land them to send them on their way. My 3wt doubled over is an awesome sight. Thunder from the clouds on the horizon sent me smiling home, that and the wonderful smell of trout on my hands. Thanks Wendy for another good time, always appreciate the good conversation.

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5 Comments

  1. As far as fish caught, this was busty. But I’ll be thinking about it for a while: how it can be frustrating to explore new water and be overwhelmed; how sometimes flies are like tree magnets; how sometimes a guy can roll in behind you and catch fish where you were just fishing. Good to see you and thanks for the SMBs. Again soon. Different, more known water though.

    But FYI, I will return to that bigger water one day and work it out right.

  2. I want to work on different larger options as well. The idea of wet wading that, hanging out in the water would have been awesome if we knew a bit more, how to fish it, had more time to explore and work it out right. Maybe keep a little float with you to cross the deeper sections? Would definatly want to be a part of that one.

    The first time we fished togather I spent most the time talking your ear off and untangling my leader and flies. Felt kind of stupid at the time but everyone has those days. I’m glad they are becoming more and more rare, but they happen for sure.

    As for the SMB’s and anything else, it’s all gravy. Couldn’t think of another who should have those more. Besides you’ve sent a stash of stuff my way that helped make some of those flies so thanks for that. Take care.

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