Sunday, April 10, 2022


The first open water fishing I did this year was a pair of trips to a familiar stretch of stream. It's close by and I have high confidence in finding willing wild trout every time I go. On a warm lunch hour in March, I hooked and landed four beautiful browns all from the same riffle. The biggest of the bunch came up for a dry fly, which really made my day. Just over a week later and a mile upstream, I got into a few more quality fish thanks to a piece of hot pink chenille tied on a hook that resembled next to nothing in their diet. 

Over the years, I have explored a good chunk of this watershed, learning a little more of her secrets with each visit. Yet for as much as I thought I knew about it, there is always more to uncover. During a recent night on the couch with a laptop and Google Earth, I stumbled upon some new access points north of where I normally fish, a long five miles upstream. 

The following day I found myself along a brand new-to-me section of stream. The waterway was noticeably smaller than the one I knew downstream. It was also fed by natural springs as evidenced by patches of thick vegetation that looked like water cress. I walked the bank just observing for a while. After a few minutes of seeing no life, I finally spotted a trout as it bolted away from me like I was Godzilla. A few more paces and a few more dark shadows darted in the opposite direction. It was clear these fish were easily spooked and I would need a stealthier approach. 

Eventually I snuck up to a pool that looked like it could hold some trout. On the first drift with a dry-dropper, something grabbed my nymph. I pulled tight and a small fish somersaulted across the surface and shook off before coming to my hand. Over the next several drifts, native brook trout of varying size took turns attacking the dry fly and pheasant tail below it. Finally I was able to cup one in my hand for quick documentation. That single pool must have harbored at least two dozen brookies. 

Fifty yards further I stopped at another run and experienced similar results. It was like this was the first time these fish ever saw bugs. Interestingly they were all brook trout and the lower section of the stream was predominately brown trout. The scouting trip was a success and just the tip of the iceberg. So much more water and woods to explore, all seemingly unspoiled and uncrowded. Sometimes in pays to do a little research and break away from the comfort zones on our favorite rivers and streams.  

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