The close of trout season in Minnesota is nearing, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to foul up your drift. It’s a good time of the year to hook into trout down here and as usual I’m trying to get near cold water as often as I can. Managed to sneak away between obligations just before the massive rain event that blew most streams out a few days ago. The air temp was in the low 70′s and rain the night before added a bit more stain to already off water. My plan was to swing streamers.
Net in hand, I began with a #8 Hairball. I love this thing. Had a few follows but after 15 minutes I hadn’t hooked in to anything. I gave it a few more passes through a very deep trouty looking run with and on the lift of my rod I managed a twelve inch brown looking rather rotund. I stuck with the Hairball for a bit longer but after a few more non-committing trout I stuck it back in the box. At this point I distinctly recall about a dozen violent rises just upstream, one within 7-8 feet of where I stood. I ignored them thinking I had no visual clue what they were taking and the water was so stained I didn’t think a smaller caddis or general dry fly would be spotted. I swapped to the SMB and kept swinging ignoring the rising upstream.
I managed a couple smaller trout on the SMB but not what I was expecting it was slow going with lighter takes. I landed another couple of browns and a brookie by the time I decided to listen to the trout. I added an 18 inch section of 5x tippet to my leader and tied on a #16 Tan EHC, old faithful. I’ve heard stories of guys who fish only this pattern all year round and do quite well on it. I sometimes have a hard time trusting that the presentation and presence of one fly will attract the response I want. I greased up my fly and my leader and cast upstream through a tight deep run. I could barley see a foot under the surface.
A few passes later and in the blink of an eye a trout snatched my fly, sweet. I managed a nicer rainbow and a few brown trout working the EHC pattern through the murky water. I greased it up a few times and landed a few with a down and across swing over a riffle, I am thinking this is the act of “skittering” a caddis dry fly. After landing four fish the water calmed and nothing rose for a good long while. I decided to swap back to the Hairball and tempt fate: an ugly looking log jam that was likely to result in a lost fly. I let the line slack and the fly sink deep into the cut then stripped it back out quickly which prompted a very nice looking brown to show up. We danced and I sent him on his way back to that deep dark looking hole. I split shortly there after managing about 3 hours on the water. I guess the moral of this story would be to trust and listen to the trout and yourself. Next time when the trout are telling me they want something on the surface I will be taking note.