A Little Brook Trout Adventure
- By: Steve Culton
I needed an adventure. It's been a while since I went off gallivanting, so last night I packed up the Jeep and this morning I headed out way over the hills and very far away to a magical place where the water is clear and cold and loaded with wild brookies.
The woods were a full eight degrees cooler than civilization, which I appreciated because I had some walking to do. The air was alive with birds and insects, and when I got near the water I could see midges and stoneflies and caddis and smaller creamy mayflies flitting about in the dappled sunlight.
The water was just borderline fishable. This stream really needs some rain. Situations like this are good news/bad news; the good news is the trout will be concentrated in the pools; the bad news is they will likely be uber spooky. Despite the heat wave, I managed a water temp of only 58 degrees on my thermometer.
My original plan was to fish upstream a stretch with dries then backtrack downstream with wets. It never happened. I ran into a ridiculous number of fish willing to jump on my dry fly, and it took me three hours to work the stretch I had in mind. I pricked dozens and dozens, and landed maybe a quarter of them; I gradually downsized my size 16 Tan Caddis to a size 20.
I took a break mid-hike to sit at the head of a long pool that starts at the bottom of some plunge pool/riffles and ends with a long flat bottom. Stealth is essential to fishing this spot, unless your target audience is so busy eating they can't be bothered with the fact that you're there. I munched on a granola bar and sparked up a new cigar, and sat there watching wild brookies slash at emergers literally at my feet. I cast to and caught a few, then left them to eat. It was wonderful.
All good things must come to an end, and my adventure's end was everything I had hoped it would be. I stood at the tail of a deep plunge pool that is fed by a narrow waterfall. The place is ringed by rock walls, and it takes some hiking/wading/derring-do to get to it. I had bailed on the dries and switched to a beadhead white mini bugger. First cast into the falls, and the line comes floating back to me. As I stripped to gain the slack, I felt a fish on. A good one for this stream, brilliantly colored in a showy display you might think would be reserved for fall.
I cast to the other side of the falls and saw several shadows dart at the fly from out of nowhere. I had one on before I could even strip the fly. As I pulled the fish in, its partners-in-crime tumbled about hysterically around it, hoping it just might drop that minnow in its mouth. Here is that fish.
(See photo above)
I fooled a few more before reluctantly hiking out.
Three hours of fishing. Four hours of driving. And worth every minute of it.
Steve Culton is a writer who lives in Connecticut.