A few weeks ago I had a chance to re-visit a stream that I used to fish as a teenager. I have many fond memories of fishing this stream, but the truth is, I had never really learned it...
This particular stream will soon be the focus of a new TU conservation/rehab project, and as such, I figured it was time to revisit and to see it once again, albeit through "new eyes..." and with a Tenkara rod in hand.
The first brown of the day was absolutely beautiful. This stream sees wild and holdover browns, some (or most) of which swim up from the reservoir each spring.
It is important to get there early, or to fish it on a week day, when the crowds of other fishermen are away. Frustratingly, there are a lot of spin fishermen and this spot gets fished out each year (and each busy day, to some degree.)
This weekend was the first real spring weekend of the year, and the flowers and ramps were starting to pop. The sun was warm, the breeze was light and I was feeling great.
There are many features to fish here, from slower runs to fast riffles and foamy eddies. And the fish are in all of these spots, just as one might expect.
Many of them were easily spooked, and I did miss quite a few nice ones.
But I was able to bring many to hand, some of which I photographed and that you see here. Others I released after enjoying their beauty alone.
The water runs clear but after a busy weekend day it begins to take the color of some silt. On these busy days, the fishing is much worse in the evening - pressure is a real concern if the goal is to catch fish in the best lies.
Luckily I was able to time my visits this spring on a weekday afternoon, and a weekend morning before the crowds. I was rewarded with many beautiful fish.
The forest that this river flows through is beautiful and varied. It supports many kinds of wildflowers, trees and grasses. It is protected as an arboretum of sorts, but luckily the hiking trails are nowhere near the water.
In this pool below, as I fished, I heard the sounds of a tweeting bird. Thinking it was chirping an alarm to other birds, I thought nothing of it and continued to fish.
But after a short while, my the sound returned to the forefront of my senses, and, looking around, I discovered a little duckling that had seemingly been separated from its family and was swimming in circles, trapped in an eddy and unable to swim back up stream in the rougher current. It began to swim my way, only to turn and flee when I moved toward it.
Thinking logically, I decided its family would be upstream at one of the nearby pools above. It took all of my resolve not to pick it up and cuddle it, but the fear of the mother rejecting it based on a human smell lead me to net it instead.
I carried the duckling carefully, as it trembled in the net until I saw its family scurrying into the woods. Carefully, I released the duckling near the edge of the woods where I saw the family run away, and then I walked up stream. The family soon returned, and I presume the duckling was reunited and safe, at least for this moment.
Walking up from there, the sun was dipping and the afternoon light resulted in a nice hatch. I fished a prime lie and came up with one of the nicer trout of the day.
The red spots were very bright, and the olive & yellow contrast made this fish stand out.
On the next visit, returning pretty much to where I left off, I fished up many more beautiful sections.
I switched to kebari flies and spent most of the day fishing without the weight of a bead. This stream is shallower and the wind was not strong, it was a perfect day for soft hackle flies.
Just as the fish had taken my bead head flies, they too were interested in the Kebari, and many more were brought to hand.
On one of the days, I fished farther up into a section that I had not fished often. It was more ideal than I had remembered.
The drifts were shorter and more difficult, but the fish were there nonetheless.
Coming up on what appeared to be an old mill, I discovered a section of stream I had never fished before, somehow.
It was beautiful, and as the sun began to set, I took a few more photos and thought about the amazing times I had enjoyed over the course of these two days.
In many ways, I had re-discovered this stream. A new perspective, a new understanding, and more fish to net than ever before had me smiling the whole way home.
I'm looking forward to participating in the rehab of a section of this stream, and to the next time I can spend a day walking its shores.