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Under cloudy skies with the occasional bout of rain and sunshine I fished Sunday. My plan was to return to a stream that I have fished several times before to see how it looked this late in the season. With little to no rain except only recently I was expecting to find low flows, what I wasn’t prepared for was the quadruple threat that made the first stop so challenging. To get a difficulty rating of 8+ combine the following: Extremely low flows, massive amounts of instream vegetation, crystal clear spring water and a micro trout stream often no wider than I can jump, oh then put it in a dense forest with little to no angler traffic. Now were talking.
Having been to this water before and knowing a fair amount about the life in the stream I rigged a Black Wet Fly trailed by a small Baetis nymph. This is a “Micro” trout stream and with the low flows and large amount of veg the fish would be very spooky so I opted to nymph a medium lengthed leader with no indicator. If the leader was too long I would miss every take, too short and the fish would see my fly line before my flies, also look at the pictures of the water, a long leader is just counter productive in such close quarters. I guess I wouldn’t rig anything longer than 8-9ft unless I had the opportunity to fish dries here.
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Stepping into the water I didn’t need my thermometer to tell me it was cold. I’m still choosing to wet wade and will through the end of the season as I like feeling more connected to the water and its much more comfortable. I’m betting at 10am the water temp was around 52 degrees, low fifties for sure. I roll casted my nymphs out a good thirty feet to loose one fish to weeds and miss another with a poor hookset. Even with no additional weight I was getting stuck in the weeds, the best drift was important here, I seem to be noticing this more and more. I moved to a second run to miss several more fish and take only two but it felt good as par for this course is one fish for me.
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I fished with Sershen again today and we hiked deep into a secluded valley, the goal was to search out a brookie hole and tempt a few brightly colored spawners. On this day this was truly the place to be as fall set in on this tiny stream, we hiked much more than fished. I lost one rig to a catch on a thick patch of buckthorn that we had to pass through just before arriving at the brookie hole. Unfortunately for us the brookie hole was little more than a puddle and although we did see a nice row of fish stacked up the low water level made things very difficult, also the hole was void of the brightly colored brookies we were looking for, they may have been hidden in a pile of slosh and logs that lay towards the rear but last time we saw many for sure. Although no brookies were around it had rained twice while out which I enjoyed, I guess I like a bit of rain between sunshine it livens things up.
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Today the rain produced several clusters of Mayflies around 12:30pm. With my new “net” (aka my Roughfisher hat) I nabbed samples and what I was confident were Baetis turned out to be Paraleptophelbia. The Blue Quill, three tails and the very distinctly colored body gives them up right away, also these are very thin bodied flies, they look gangly with really long front legs. I did managed to catch a similarly colored fly that was much smaller size, maybe a different sex or variety of specie, not sure. In addition I captured a female with an egg sac but due to my big smashy hand I damaged this specimen (it was caught before I realized I was wearing an awesome net) leaving it without tails and unable to fly. Without the tails I could not say if it was a Baetis or not but it was fluttering with the Blue Quills however it had a completely dark olive color to its body. Upon looking at the photo again I am confident it was a Baetis as the face/thorax look completely different.
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We hiked out after the brookie bust and stopped off at a consolation spot with the stockers. Tried the same rig I used to nail these fish during the Pet-Fly Smackdown and got no where fast. The rain was coming down pretty hard by 2pm and after switching nymphs a few times I put on the Sprinkle Me Baby and started catching fish. I love this fly! I’d watch from the banks as a perfect roll cast put my fly four inches from the weeds, let it sink, pull one pull two and a fish would bolt from the blackness in the weeds to smash it. I landed a few and lost a few before it was time to pull out. Good day, may it help hold me over.
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