Today I fished a new section of a stream that I fished once last fall. It holds wild brook trout and some chub. This particular stream tumbles down a mountain and through a beautiful gorge. It has riffles. Deep fast runs. Plunge pools. And Uodome, or "fish stop waterfalls" in Japanese!
Last year, I fished the upper section of this stream as it meanders through the forest and near a road. This time I explored the gorge and got my first Sawanobori (stream/shower climbing) experience in.
Fishing a few prime lower pools with an Ausable Bomber nothing rose to my fly. I got down to business and threw on an ugly and was soon into some fish.
Working my way up to the first pool I started in the deep run on the left and towards the little falls. I had some small hits that I didn't set. Finally I hooked one near the top of the pool, but the fish was off before I had it in. Using no-barb hooks doesn't make it any easier.
The next pool was long, curved and deeper towards the end. It definitely held fish. I extended my rod to the 3.6 meter length, tossed my fly into the white water and got a hit first cast. That was followed by a solid hook up on the second. A beautiful small brookie was soon in the net.
Knowing that any other fish in that hole were spooked, I moved up and saw a picture perfect pool. I navigated my way down and snuck up behind the rocks at the base of the pool. What a spot.
I have really been enjoying the zoom feature on my Suikei. I started the day with the Kurenai but I just keep coming back the the Suikei for its versatility. I netted another small brookie at the 3.2 setting and then went to 3.9 to reach the base of the falls.
The close range brookie was very small but had candy-like spots.
The next pool was blocked by a tree and made fishing it really difficult. I netted fish nonetheless. They were small.
The stream tumbled down a rock face and went around a bend. Time had created a cave and it reminded me of a Dali painting for some reason.
Standing in the shallows, I cast straight up and let the fly drift under the cave to the right. I hooked into a small fish and released it quickly.
Casting to the left, I went for the drift under the overhanging rock. The pool was deepest there and I hooked into a sizable fish that put a good bend in the rod. As fate would have it, I did not land that fish.
Up higher the stream flattened out but still had some nice deep pools. Most of them were long, oval or rectangular shaped pools that were pushed off to the sides of the stream.
I wasn't getting any hits in the flatter water up at the top of the falls and the sun was warning me it was no longer early afternoon. I wanted to get back to the car and move up to where I caught fish last fall at the top of the stream.
The first fish I landed up top was a little bit bigger than the plunge pool natives from below.
I caught a few more working my way up towards the log jam pool I remembered so well from my previous visit.
There's a real maze of branches to avoid when casting to this epic pool. Its easy to spook fish here, the flat water to the left is placid. I was in luck today.
Maybe because I lost my larger fish down in the gorge, but I couldn't have been more psyched when I hooked an absolute stunner of a wild brookie. It was a real paddle-tail. A king of this upper section of stream, with a rather unique sea-green hue that I don't often see in these fish.
The fins were strong and beautifully colored with orange like a monarch butterfly. I took a moment to get a good look at this fish before releasing it. Clearly one of the most beautiful brookies I've caught to date, and by far the best day I've had so far this year. Looking forward to exploring a new stream with a new friend tomorrow. Until then, goodnight!