Thanks to Gary C for the stream report.
Good seeing you yesterday and I was surprised to see all the trout fisherman and woman at the shop and parking area. Of course then I learned they were from Trout Unlimited…DC?
It reminded me that one of the things I love most about fly-fishing is the the camaraderie which exists between fellow fly fishers. The folks were just plain friendly and everyone was eager to talk about the river and fishing and I had several great conversations about technique and the river’s health. It’s one of the things I like about going to your shop, it’s more of a meeting place for like minded individuals…at least about fishing.
So on to the report. I picked up some of the sulphur emerger patterns as well a couple of the dry patterns you mentioned and headed to the upper section. I got in to the river just a little above the large bend and fished for around 6 hours making my way through pools, fast moving water and seams. Conditions were excellent with the water around 100 cfs and enough clouds to take away any hint of shadows. I fought my first four fish, all browns, on one of Mike’s emergers using 7x at 2.lbs.. The fourth fish I hooked was large and it snapped my entire tippet section so I went to re-tie only to find that I left my tippet material in the car along with the additional leaders! I had to improvise and fortunately I had old leader material in one of my pockets and stitched together a leader that was probably in the 6x range and around 8ft long. Normally I fish a 12ft to 14ft leader in the 7x to 8x range so it threw me off quite a bit.
I worked my way to much faster water and put on a clouser minnow and picked up two nice rainbows in the heavy water by the large tree I told you about (the one where the very large fish had been working last week). Then I ran into another fellow fisherman who was kind enough to give me some additional tippet. Although it was 6x it was new and I managed to lengthen my leader by four feet which made a difference. We chatted awhile and as I was moving on, I couldn’t help reflect again on how nice it is to just talk about the river and the fish.
By that time it was around 3:30 and I was at the very slow moving section just after the rapids and the water was perfect. With the longer leader I put the emerger pattern back on and started working the banks, both sides as well as the center of the water. I picked up two more nice browns but it was tough fishing and I am convinced it was the slightly heavier tippet…not that I’m complaining. At that point another fisherman walked up the path and we started to talk about the conditions. I asked him if he had any lighter leader, he didn’t, but he stayed and chatted while I fished. And then…it occurred. A steady stream of sulphurs started to emerge and the water erupted while the fish ignored the floating surface meals. But in a short time they were taking the drys as well. All this while my new friend and I were chatting and I probably missed three times the number of fish I caught and I caught around 6. I have to say the fish I caught were all in the 8-10 range and were fierce fighters, bending my 9ft Scott 3wt and pulling line off the reel. I even managed to coax a few fish to the top when I switched to the dry and simply missed a few as I pulled the fly out of their mouths as they where inhaling. Even more fun was my new friend was spotting fish for me and I was casting to his directions and getting them to rise….great stuff.
I got out of the water giving my spot to my fellow fisherman and started the walk back to the car. It was the fastest walk up the trail I ever had as I reflected back on the whole day. In the span of 6 hours I was on a beautiful river, caught somewhere between 12 – 15 trout and met a host of good people in three distinct settings. To me that is not only what fly-fishing is about but what life is about. I’m not sure where else you could go or what else you could do to have that type experience.
Finally, if you pass anything along as you do your thing in the shop and as river keeper, tell people to take time to talk, reflect….and use long leaders tapering to 7x or lighter!