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Approximate arrival onstream: 9:00am. 100% clean and clear flows containing the same spooky trout, same as the last time I was here just less than a week ago. I wanted another crack at the fish in this stream, this time I came armed with another brain to bounce ideas off. The word for the day would be drift, proper drift. We started by tempting a smaller pod of trout holding in a shallower (3ft) run, using smaller lightly weighted scuds nothing would take, line and flies sent dozens of fish, fish dawning the best camouflage imaginable scrambling for cover. A recurring theme today was the super camo these fish were sporting, if you saw one be sure there were twenty you didn’t. It would serve me better to just trust that something might hold fish and rather than have to peer in, just make my presentation to where the fish may be holding. We hung on a super deep hole[singlepic id=961 w=320 h=240 float=right]for a while after seeing the shadows below, the fish were again lethargic. I was hoping that due to the overnight low in the region dipping to only 43 degrees that the fish would perhaps be more actively feeding but this was not our observation. Takes were super subtle and several fish were hooked but lost due to this fact. The correct amount of weight and drift were the key to taking these fish, with a super deep (10+ft) dive in a short distance you have to weight heavy and let it go hoping your line may bounce, pull, stop, anything to indicate a fish. Sershen took a 13in Brown with a #14 Pink Scud but after close to an hour I had lost three takes and landed nothing, par for the course for me I suppose.

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We concentrated on broken and deeper water to help offset the spooky fish in the clear water. I fish mainly a two scud rig and when I wasn’t fishing that I was tossing either the KML or the SMB. I had luck with streamers today and Sershen had most of his with scuds. I guess I fished the scuds in the shallower areas and switched to the streamer for anything deeper. My experience today was that the KML was better fished on a super slow dead drift, this may be due to the Zonker Strip body that is much larger when dead drifted or it might be due to the lack of activity from the fish, it seemed that the super dead drift was the way to go. I did take a colorful Brown with a downstream and across approach on a SMB which was unexpected but welcome.

I approached a very fishy cragg with a deep channel running down the middle with thick weeds on each side. I kicked a dozen or so fish up into the main bunch causing some unrest, my first cast was a bit short and it sent the pod scrambling as if a bomb had gone off above their heads. I was sure I was coming away from this one empty handed at this point but with my next attempt I let my KML sink deep and run between the weeds almost on the bottom, the other fish darting away from my fly, I was ready to call this one blown when a 13in Brown pops his head out from under the weeds and with a slow turn he chomps my fly. I set the hook to begin the dance, excellent and satisfying the feeling of watching the take go down. After noticing that I had left my spools of tippet at the first initial deep pool we sat on I started my way back so as not to litter or loose my gear.

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I found my gear and stowed it away in my pack right away, rigged a KML and got to swinging looking for the right drift. This hole is massive and so deep, decevingly deep, so deep it shouldn’t be that deep. Also despite the added weight on most of my streamers you really need to add more when dealing with a deep hole that has a strong current. Streamers are wider, bulkier and resist the water much more than a stream lined nymph or scud, this is why you can get your nymphs down with less weight than say a streamer made from mostly Zonker Strip. I positioned myself based on the [singlepic id=981 w=280 h=200 float=right]glare, I needed to see what was going down to make this work with the light biting trout. I watched as my black streamer slipped out of sight and a moment later I saw the white inside… a trout mouth. Hook-Set and the slab was on the line. He made a decent run but could have been much more, jumped twice and right as I was considering jumping to get him Heath walks up with the net, perfect timing. Fish landed and photo’s taken it was time to take off to head north.

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On a quick bug note: Clouds of Midge were around everywhere and we did see a few fish rising but not in any of the spots where I would have attempted fishing a tiny dry fly. Water temp at around noon was 48 degrees and by the end [singlepic id=966 w=230 h=150 float=right]of the day we were seeing the occasional BWO hatch, a male rode home with us in the car. I was intrigued to find such quantities of Maccaffertium nymphs making me question if these all hatch in a year or if what I was seeing were nymphs that hold over. Scuds in all sizes and most colors from dark grey, to lighter tan and even a hint of orange could be found as well.

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  1. WFF congrats on another successful outing. Amazing looking brown. Quick measurement? Out of all the Midwest spring creek fly anglers I know, you are on the top of the list for catching big trout. Smart man. You seem to do best with big black leech patterns. Would love to fish IA. Going to make a point of doing fall trips next year. Out of vacation time at the moment.

    avatar Mark Dahlquist

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