I fished both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. Going into the weekend I had tempered my expectations for a couple of reasons. 1st, the weekend had the best weather we’ve had since last fall and because the opening weekend was a bust for many I knew anglers would be out in droves. 2nd, I planned to fish with my long time friend Heath and his two kids. Bringing kids to a trout stream is excellent fun but often times results in less fishing and more playing around, exploring and managing children and your own expectations. Saturday we left later than expected and fished one of my favorite spots in hopes of finding caddis and rising trout. I gave it a 50/50 chance that there would be a vehicle parked where I wanted to fish but to my surprise we were alone. The five of us were gearing up when a pick-up comes down the hill behind us. They pulled downstream from us, got out and walked to the water. They opted to head out for another location I presume but for a minute there it looked like they might try to jump downstream ahead of us which would have been bad form.
I packed my daughter along and we hiked down, I caught a few on streamers in the darker water. An hour or so later the first BWO’s were seen and shortly after I spied caddis skittering around on the rocks the way only caddis do. The fish were rising but not as expected. Normally this creek runs very clear but today with the run-off the stream was heavily stained and as such I think the rising suffered. I fished a dry fly for a bit and managed a couple fish but quickly switched back to the streamer. We didn’t linger long as the kids were quickly tired out hiking through the stream and playing in the mud on the banks. We hiked back upstream and to my disappointment a different truck was parked just upstream from our access, two anglers fishing the location right where we parked and planned to fish on the way back out. We acknowledged each other and exchanged pleasantries but I think both would have preferred not to see the other. At the end of the day I got to spend time with a good friend, his kids, my kid, in the woods on a trout stream so I pretty much can’t complain about any of that.
Sunday the weather was going to be even nicer, the sun would be shining and the wind low. Perfect. As such I rose earlier, opted to drop the kid off so I could concentrate on fishing dry flies. There will be more opportunities as the weather gets warmer for me to take her with when I can let her loose to play in the riffles with dad. I picked up Ryan on my way out of town and as we drove we discussed plans a, b, and c ready to implement in descending order depending on water conditions and traffic. Plan A was a bust and as we pulled up to a small blue car we saw no anglers. Most likely they were downstream, we discussed staying to fish but I couldn’t do it despite wanting to. I prefer to model the behavior I want to see from others and just as I wasn’t pleased to see the two from the truck fishing the area we parked at the day before I didn’t want to do the same for this person. It’s disappointing to walk around the corner to see someone fishing the water that you had intended to fish.
Plan B…two cars at the first spot but none at the second. We parked and headed downstream. I came for dry flies and to harvest my five brown trout. Like clock work the trout began rising at about noon and peaked between 2-3pm. Ryan and I sat on a hole with rising trout and managed to pull a few out. BWOs were first switching to caddis later in the day. The distinct splashy caddis rise was noted almost immediately, striking the difference between the two presentations. I managed my limit right before we left, the last fish to fall victim took a streamer and I noted how full it’s belly was as I landed it. As I typically do I inspected the stomach contents and to my surprise it contained almost nothing I expected to find. I figured I would see BWO and Caddis adults, baetis nymphs and midge but I found only midge larva in striking quantities. Most were still alive and crawled off my fingers to fall back to the water below. It should speak volumes seeing these pictures full of a natural that many of us shy away from imitating and fishing. We blew off the creek when the rising slowed and I had my limit of fish. A successful day free of other anglers and full of rising trout.