Ran out for just a couple hours today, intending to get my first limit of 2009 to be smoked for a grand banquet we have planned for some days down the road. Turned out to be a decent and sunny day, so much pleasure was taken in this task, despite the short duration of it.
First note is that I went to a stream that I don't really fish too often to ask for these fish. What a difference it makes - fishing a "popular" stream. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and I found four cars at the road crossing. I walked upstream and observed quite a few folks. I shouldered my way in at a flat stretch that was being absolutely pocked by rising fish... and proceeded to get schooled. The fish were on to everything - the line, the leader, the bad presentation, my person, the folks up and downstream... An expert with the exact right caddis fly could have gotten them to eat - because they were mowing down... but I was not that. So I fished there for maybe half an hour and caught one fish - and that one came only because I was able to make a good skitter attempt (the caddis were dapping and skittering all over the place and I think that was really a focus for the fish). I missed a couple other takes. Only consolation here is that a veteran-looking guy, on his way out past me said "maddening today, aren't they?".
On to some new water. Nymphed for about five minutes when the hatch fizzled a bit... but just couldn't keep at that. Switched back to a caddis dry and went up to the next riffle... and saw this: fish porpoising so intensely and so rapidly it literally looked like they were over-exerting themselves. Kind of funny looking in a way: rise afer rise after dolphin-back rise. Everywhere. Kind of a glorious sight. This was broken water, with a couple good seams and a nice dead spot. I knew that this would be a much better deal for a dude like me. From the first cast to the last - fish just crushed the fly. I caught more than my share, and kept my five for the smoker. Some of the takes came as the fly was lighting on the water - absolutely a sight to see. Some of the fish were bigger - in the 12-13" range... Beautifully colored, leaping fish.
The difference was the water type: need to burn into my brain: look for good, broken water - not the still aquariums that allow the fishes to see you as you can see them.