As posted in a previous piece, last season I went out of my way to catch a wild brook trout near my house. This year I thought I would give it an early start. I tried many creeks and springs last year but couldn’t catch a single brookie. There was one stream I tried and knew that it should have brook trout, but I was only able to catch brown trout.
I know this river well too. Before I graduated, I spent six weeks taking benthic samples and doing stream side chemistry for a final school project. My project was studying the impact on the spring water as it traveled from its origin (a natural spring) through wild lands into farmed lands and through a developed area and finally to wild lands again. From my extensive research and data collecting that went into my project, I KNEW IT HAD TO HAVE BROOK TROUT. My plan was to fish it again this year, but maybe be better prepared.
I was going to use my 11″ Iwana Tenkara rod and shorten it using a new handle segment from Tenkara USA that would make the rod slightly over nine feet long. I went with 7x tippet material and smaller flies of size 18-20. Where I was going to fish this creek, it was about two to three feet wide by maybe one half to one foot deep. Stealth was going to be needed if I was going to catch anything.
The short hike to the creek had me encounter some wild turkeys doing their little strutting with their feathers all flared out. It was a wet morning and heavy mist clung to the ground. At about 20 yards from the creek I put my gear together and crawled closer for an observation.
I worked my way slowly up this small stretch of water. In summer time this section of water is often invisible to someone nearby. The grass almost completely covers it and the sound of running water is the only indication of its presence in the grassy meadow. Casting was a bit rough with the wind taking my line where it wished. In between gusts, I managed to get many good casts as I worked about 70 yards of fishable creek. I lost many flies to the grass, but wasn’t very concerned with that. The naturalist trout loving concerned person in me needed to know that brookies were still there. I hooked one fish and in my excitement I may have set the hook a little hard. A short dark shape flew over my head and luckily landed in the water behind me. I was afraid that had been my one chance, but I was happy the fish had landed in the water.
I fished that whole 70 yards slowly and methodically, but with no more success. Before giving up, I went back to the beginning and refished a few spots that I knew should have fish. I thought maybe I could have been more stealthy in a few of these spots. It paid off. In one of the bends had a slight under cut. Something struck my caddis, and it had some fight to it. With little water to work with, I fought to keep it out of the under cut. My heart thumped and thumped with excitement. Could this be my brookie? It was a brook trout and I used my net to corral it and keep it safe in the water.
In the flowing current in my net the little fish just hovered. In a time where it seems like all I hear about is earthquakes and people killing people and how global warming is a going to change everything. It was a good feeling to look down at this little fish and know that he was still there. I know that it is a bit strange, but I needed to know. I quickly took his picture and felt great pride in letting him swim away. Be safe little fish. Be safe.