Monday, January 5, 2015

Browns in the Rain

Yesterday's forecast called for rain and temps in the low 50s. At this time of year temperatures in that range are guaranteed to spark some feeding activity, so I decided to head to one of my favorite small streams.

Fog on the walk to the stream

The temperature never came close to 50, but luckily for me no one told the trout...

Back to the stream to eat another day

I went with my go to winter strategy for this stream - swinging a wooly bugger downstream next to the many undercut banks. After a couple of bumps I felt a savage strike. Soon after this gorgeous brown was in my hand. I love yellow browns like this – browns that are actually brown are nice too, but the colors just don't compare.

First fish of 2015
The bite usually drops off around 3 in the winter, so at that point I began the hike back to my car. But before I could get there, something caught my eye in a brushy section of stream I usually skip. There I saw a small fallen tree which had caused some scouring, creating a deep pool surrounded by brush – the perfect winter hiding spot for a big trout.

The lair...
I couldn't cast to this pool, so I clawed my way through the thorny brush until I reached a clear spot 30 feet upstream, pausing only to gently extract some blackberry thorns from my skin. I let my wooly bugger go in the current and stripped out line until I could see the end of my fly line hovering about 5 feet upstream of the tree.

As I began to slowly strip in the fly, I heard a splash and felt a bump on my line. I tried to set the hook, but I was too late. I was worried I had spooked the fish, but I decided to give it another shot. I let the fly drift once more, and as I stripped it in I was greeted with a vicious strike. I watched as a large brown shot out of the water from below and frantically stripped to keep a tight line. The large tippet I was using at the time allowed me to quickly strip the fish into a more open spot and get her in the net.

King (or more likely queen) of the stream
This 10" wild brown is my biggest ever from this stream. What a way to start the new year.


A little late, but I fished Red Brook for Salters the morning after Christmas.

It was a beautiful winter day with temps in the high 40s. After 3 hours of fruitless fishing I decided to take one last cast in the pool below the footbridge. The water was murky from the incoming tide, but I could see a bright flash as I stripped in my wooly bugger. After a quick fight I had this fat salter in hand - the largest wild brookie I've caught.

I had to head home, so I caught only one fish, but it was well worth the trip.