I headed out this morning to a local free stone stream which has trout, but they are very migratory depending on water levels and temperature. I wasn’t going after a lot of trout, but I was targeting big ones. The water levels are lower right now, so I thought I would hit some of the big holes. The drive to this the river was about five and half miles, so it didn’t take long to arrive.
I put on all my gear and began my hike in a long the railroad tracks to the first hole. I was hoping for stoneflies today, but if they weren’t on the rocks yet, I would try something different. I was deep in thought preparing what I was going to set up as I hiked when a female turkey went crazy and started running in a circle around me. I just kept hiking because I figured the hen was trying to protect a nest. A nest next to the railroad tracks wasn’t the best idea for the bird.
In the first hole, I missed several takes. The stonefly shucks were still not to be seen, so I used the killer bug. On one strike, I went to set the hook and the second last section of my Yamame rod snapped. I wasn’t worried about the rod. I figured it was under warranty or the replacement parts are cheap, so I hiked back to the car past the turkey and got my 12’ Iwana.
I hiked back down the railroad tracks, but not quite as far. A little turkey head was just over the plants and watching me pass. I reached hole number two and setup my Iwana. I hooked plenty of shiners and creek chubs on the back swing with a killer bug fished in the deep hole.
After a few minutes, I hooked what I was after. It made the 16” fish that I caught the day before seem small. The pool was big and that gave him plenty of room to swim, and it gave me the room that I needed with my 12’ Iwana. My plan was to work him until he was good and tired and then bring to the shallows and net him. He swam and turned and would not come up. I just held on with both hands and did my best. He was well hooked and I knew he was mine.
He was tired and near the surface. I started working him back towards me in the shallows. He was HUGE and I was so excited. It was hard to move the net and control the fish at the same time. I was fumbling and trying hard, but I could not net him. Even in the six inch water, he was still strong enough to fight me at every attempt. I almost netted him twice and he got behind me. There in the shallow water were three rocks and he wound me and broke me off. That excitement left my hands shaking for several minutes. There were no more fish taking a fly in that hole, so I moved on.
On the way to hole number three, a doe walked into the creek right in front of me with her fawn. It took a second for them to notice me and then all hell broke out as they crashed through the water and broke trees trying to get away from me. Hole number three held only creek chubs and shiners. One creek chub’s head was all covered with horn like bumps. The males do this when its time to breed. They also build large piles of rocks for their little size.
Hole number four held its own strangeness. I hooked a trout, but it got off by quickly jumping in the air. Not long after, I hooked a similar fish that got off by quickly jumping straight in the air. I would not land a trout today. After a few shiners, I had a big hit and the fish ran. It darted back and forth in the back end of the pool, and it did not feel like a trout. After I got it under control, I was able to net it and see that it was a northern pike. I had seen a huge one down river about 10 years ago, but that was where the river was dammed near town. I unhooked my killer bug from his lip and took his picture. Then I let him slip into the water. A minute later I hooked another northern in the same spot, but this one was able to get off. I think like the trout it was the same fish twice.
That concluded my strange day. It had high points and low points, total quiet and total noise, and even destruction.
I called Tenkara USA and they are sending me a new segment for free.