Rewind to October 2011
Exactly two years after I had picked up a fly rod for the first time, I had decided to fish a new trout stream. I usually fish closer to home for trout, but all of the rainbows are small and the browns are few and far between. However, about 6 hours north, I could fish water that is a lot better for size and numbers of fish. This river is famed for its sulphur hatches, and having never experienced a hatch of any kind (I was mainly a warm water fisherman), I was looking forward to it. I woke up at 2am, made some coffee, and headed due north.
Arrived to the river around 8:30 am.
I threw streamers all morning and no fish were brought to hand, so I broke for lunch and decided to try somewhere new.
After lunch, I followed the trail to the river and within minutes, trout were rising as far away as I could see. This little guy drifted right by me, so....
.....I tied on the best imitation I had and started to cast to risers.
Dozens of trout were rising within casting distance, but I was getting nothing. Mainly because fish were literally everywhere and I tried casting to every rise I saw. I finally contained my excitement and picked a fish to cast to. I made several drifts before he ate, but he did eat.
He was no trophy but a fish is a fish when you're in new water. Didn't really do much better after that and had a long drive ahead of me. I decided to call it a day and immediately began to plan my next trip.
Fast forward to last weekend
This time I drove up a day early and got a hotel. I left Saturday afternoon in a deluge. I don't know why I'm surprised though, every time I go on a trip the weather turns shitty. In fact, I could probably offer my travel itinerary to others so they could plan around it.
I pressed on and hoped the trip wouldn't be a bust. I arrived late, checked into the hotel and tried to sleep. I say "tried" because the anticipation of what the next day held kept me awake for most of the night. Will I catch more than last time? Maybe some bigger? Will it rain all day? The forecast was calling for 70% precipitation which could cause TVA to generate thereby ruining the option to wade.
No matter how many fishing trips I have been on, and no matter how small any one trip may be, it feels like the night before Christmas every single time.
All in all, the river only got about a quarter of an inch of rain before I got there, so I arrived to find the water dingy and just a little high. It was cloudy, but that's what I wanted.
This trip was different as I would mainly be nymphing instead of fishing dries. I tied on a SJW attractor (I'm not apologizing) and dropped a purple zebra midge below it. First cast, caught a nice rainbow on the worm.
Second cast, I got what I had come for....
I enjoy catching any fish, but browns are by far my favorite and what I try to target.
I continued the pattern of catching rainbows on the worm, while the browns exclusively hit the midge.
After a productive morning, I headed to a local hole in the wall eatery for some hot food.
The afternoon was spent floating on high water. Arrived to the put in and could see 3-4 drift boats ahead of me.
Also found some DSFK that the locals left...
The boats ahead of me were all pounding the banks with streamers, so I focused on the runs in the middle of the river. The first one only yielded one fish....
Once I got around the other boats, I started to drift a little closer to the bank and found this colorful brown.
Caught several more browns and further down the river, I found some rising fish. There was a small BWO hatch coming off, so I put away the nymph rig for this:
There was a brown feeding pretty aggressively at the end of this little island in front of the grass...
I made quite a few casts and several drifts before I could see the brown come up and slam my fly. After a short battle and several jumps, I brought him to hand.
Never caught a fish on a dry fly on high water in February before, so that was cool.
Another river view:
Last fish of the day on a fly Richard (Bear River Boomer) sent me:
Damn browns loved the purple midges today.
It was nice to come back and have better success this time. I didn't break any size records, but I caught lots of fish and a hell of a lot more than I did on my first trip.
I also saw some interesting DSFK: