Throw a Dart
Exhaling now, after a long, filled weekend. It included various forays into home projects, gardening, eating Driftless Area food, parties, canoeing with kids and a couple stints of fishing. This being the venue that it is, I'll stick to the latter-most item going forward.
Sunday morning: slipped out of bed at ~4:47. Stole out the back door around 5:25 and was on the stream before 6:00. In fact, I may have had my first fish to hand before 6:00. By 7:00 I figure I must have had ~8-10 trout on the books. That is a solid formula for really fishing the subsequent hours in relaxed fashion. Fish have come, from there on everything is some beautiful icing. I put quite a few pictures below - maybe caption approach is the best way to tell this story. It's a good story too: I'm fully realizing that these little outings are what constitute Trout Season 2009
. Too often a guy finds himself looking forward to the next day on the water... and forgets to savor the last one he logged. This outing was by no means any sort of pinnacle, but it was a step beyond solid and I appreciate it for the quality it provided.
A lot of this: humming 2 wt. For a while the moon was in the western sky and I was fishing the east bank of the stream... so I'd look up at my bent rod and see La Luna working his way down to the horizon.
One tandem rig was fished all day: two BH PTs. I stock a generic black BH nymph that is essentially a PT with a couple steps omitted... that fly absolutely wrecked havoc on this day - you'll note in the followig pics: all the same fly embedded in lips. In a strange twist - never lost one fly. All snags pulled through or out. Looking at these pics - I guess I like headshots over the body-laying-in-grass poses. Seems like when I get the fish to hand I'm always trying to capture the spots and colors... can't ever do it just right though.
For some reason I was able to call almost every shot on this day. I was seeing the water and feeling where the fish were... and getting the nymphs on them. I mention that because it doesn't come together like that all too often... so there was a really slick feel to this outing: everything was hitting. I walked up to this pool and said to myself fish at the head and fish in the tail. I flipped the nymphs at the head, and was treated to a vision of a dark shape move from its hold to eat the trailing PT. The fish in the tail of the pool I fooled into eating a nymph, but missed.
Speaking of that - a couple notes on visuals and takes: I was able to watch quite a few nymph takes - pretty cool. I saw numerous fish move to eat. Also, the lift was very effective - at the end of drifts, a slow raise would bring hard hits - a few of which I was able to watch.
Time to tie up an inch worm pattern. Those are two different trout stomachs. Interesting to note that I turned over a dozen rocks and saw no mayfly nymphs. Hell, I saw almost nothing on the rocks. A few caddis here and there, and some leeches. Kind of eerie really. Rocks should hold bugs. So few bugs on the rocks, and these two fish eating inch worms and snails.
Fish from all kinds of water types: many out of reaches like this one below: subtlely deep, with a trace of a foam line. Took quite a few out of really deep, slow water. I think I could have sat on that stuff for a long time and really pulled out a lot of fish.
Around 8 AM I saw just a few mottled brown caddis #16 in the air. A little later I found some rising fish, so I put on a brown caddis with a #20 PT dropper (no BH). Picked up a few fish on that rig, including one on the dropper. One beauty came from the only shady spot in a sunny reach - put the caddis under an over-hanging shrub and watched it be crushed on lighting on the water.
Tell me this doesn't get you going:
One other interesting note: all of the fish were one of two sizes: ~6 inches, or 11-12 inches. Maybe two year classes that have done well there... No fish into the teens, and not even any 8-9 inchers. An absolute brigade of strong and pretty foot long fish though - enough to keep a sap like me interested for the duration. I definitely did not count the fish, but I will say with 100% certainty that rounding to the nearest 10, the tally would be 20. I'd guess maybe a dozen each of the dinks and foot-longers. That's a fisherman's guess though, so maybe more like 9-10 of each.
So - indeed: throw a dart. Pick a stretch of water in SE MN, go to it and run nymphs through trouty looking water. Proceed to catch fish. We are fortunate in that regard.