Fishing in the Rain
Saturday was a gray and rainy morning – perfect for fishing, because weather kept a few folks inside, and provided some camo for those who got out. The rain was not hard at all. I started at one stream pretty early… I’d never fished it before. Found some holes that looked really, really fishy, but moved only one trout. I worked my way upstream catching half a dozen creek chubs and no trout… I was nymphing with an indicator. Finally I came to some big slow water and switched to a black bugger. First cast out there I was slowly raising the fly up for another cast and I got to watch a little 8-9” trout shoot up like lightning from the depths near the bank and smack that bugger! Pretty cool – only trout I caught on that water though. I gave up after two hours and went on to another stream. I sensed that there were other folks about… and as I started through my series of normal holes I was coming up empty. I missed a couple fish at one of the prime pieces of water. On to the next hole… hooked a nice fish that was around 13” – he ran quite a while, and tried to take me into some logs…. Leapt twice! He made such a racket I was sure the hole was ruined. However, about one minute after releasing that fish, I made a cast to the exact same location and hooked this beautiful brown. As soon as I hooked it, I saw the body and said “Oh God” out loud… by now, after losing many good fish, I’ve learned to focus (that doesn't mean that I catch them all, but it means that I consciously set my mind to do certain things). I had in my mind the entire time: keep tension, give line but keep tension… I was afraid the fish would pop off, given that I was fishing a #16 nymph – meaning gap of hook is about 1/8 of an inch. I played the fish for quite a while – in awe the entire time. She leapt twice – once completely out of the water, shaking head like crazy…. Even ran a while and peeled some line off the reel. I was in a slippery spot – I started to think about how to land this fish (no landing net). I waded out and tried to get in position, but it was tough. I eventually worked the fish over and up from me, and slid her up on the shore… that is when I took this photo. I snapped a couple more, looked at my rod for length reference and saw 20 inches. I released the fish, but she was really tired – she swam up from me and sat for a few minutes. I was starting to worry, but then when I took a step toward her, she bolted away with a lot of energy – I honestly think the fish will be okay. Looking at the picture and the rod reference, I believe I can verify my field measurement: the end of the cork grip is 10.5 inches, and it looks to be about an inch shy of the midpoint of the fish's body. Thus: 10.5 + 9.5 = an honest 20 inch fish. This is the biggest trout I’ve ever caught on a nymph, and the battle was much more epic than that of the ~20” I caught on a streamer. Whereas the streamer locked the fish up for keeps, this fish could have popped off at any time (barbless hook slid out like butter on release). The water was only ~10 feet across and 2 feet deep at max point, and to watch this fish whale around in that little stream… quite an experience. Add to that a nice 12.25" inch fish that I caught at the next hole (sitting in my lunch cooler now, in a smoked condition), and I have to say I could ask for nothing more from the stream on that day.