Motivation Renewed

According to some, I'm not a morning person. But, if it means free breakfast and coffee with a pretty smile, I'll get myself out of bed at just about whenever I need to. If it's just to get to the office on time, trust me, I ain't rushin' (I love my job, but not more than the snooze button). It's a problem of motivation. (is this really the best clip youtube has to offer?)

Likewise, it's been tough to prioritize fishing lately, what with the weather, car shopping, intermittent lack of transportation...and general laziness. Last night I finally had (just barely) enough time (and sense) to make it back to default pool for the first time in weeks...months...and was rewarded.

Honestly, I didn't expect much. I just needed to get out, and had about an hour before it would get dark. As much as anything, I wanted to see the condition of the stream and, just maybe, spot a few fish that had made it through the summer.

I took about 10 minutes (an eternity for me) to just watch the pool before I decided to do anything. The water was perfect; that slight amber stain, flowing well above summer lows and well below spring highs. Still, fishing a dry would be tough; at this level, the currents are quite complex and it's tough to get a good drift for more than a foot. Not that it really mattered, because nothing was hatching or falling. There was the ever-present swarm of gnats over the bank, and one dragon still holding onto summer. No mayflies, stones or caddis to be sure. Even the waterbugs seemed to have disappeared from the surface.

I could see some chubs feeding along the edges of the rocks and under the 2 half-sunken trees. Nothing with the appearance of a trout. Out of the corner of my eye I could have sworn I saw a small boil, but even if it wasn't just the current, it was likely to be just another chub.

The decision to dredge was easy. Current and color were perfect for nymphing or even swinging streamers. There was no surface activity worth pursuing. And my 5/6 would let me high-stick something meaty in close before flipping it further out.

Of course, I don't like easy decisions, so I broke out the 3 wt and the dries. Just to make it a little more challenging, I tied on a fly I've never caught a fish on. Now, elk-hair caddis are deadly. I've heard others make this proclamation. I've seen others catch trout on them. I've even been hit on them regularly. But never so much as a chub or sunfish to hand with them.

It took a while to get the feel of the 3 wt back. With 10, 20, 30, 40 feet of line out...it continued to feel like a toothpick after months of throwing a WF6F with heavily weighted, bushy flies on a poorly balanced outfit. Her action is still smooth as butter though. She needs a name.

I honestly didn't think I'd turn a trout. I had a few hits at the head of the pool, but most were obvious chubs. There was one splashy rise that I took to be a potential trout, but we just couldn't get on the same page so I headed the ten yards to the pocket-riffle above the pool. Here, casting cross-current, max (dragless) drift is about four inches. More often, it's zero. And cross-current is pretty much the only option.

And then, the gods smiled.

15 feet out, tucked behind a rock, between two strong flows, a little jewel must have been waiting for me. I've never seen a six inch fish make such a large splash. I immediately tried to get her on the reel simply to avoid tangles, but even in the current I couldn't get the fish to pull out the additional 3 feet of line. As I brought her to the bank, I knew right away she had to be wild. Born and raised very near where I stood. She was certainly too small to be a spring stocker. To my knowledge they didn't stock here in the fall. And the colors...oh the colors. She was so dark on the back that I at first pondered if she wasn't indeed a native.

In hand though, it was clear she was just a baby brown. A baby, wild brown. In a heavily stocked, chub-infested, recently polluted-with-sediment section of (overfished?) stream. Beautiful parr markings and spotting. Completely intact, long, membranous fins with white edging. Not a single scar on her, save the one I just put in her mouth. I fumbled for my phone to snap a quick photo, but realized she was hooked a little deeper than I would have liked. Remedying that and returning her safely took a much higher priority. Hey, I appreciate anybody that reads this, but knowing she is there is worth a lot more to me than sharing her with you. (However...here's an approximation...first photo...mine was prettier)

And that was it. I watched the water a bit longer before returning to the car. An unexpected wild trout is hard to beat, and I didn't feel like trying to. 1 fly, 1 hour, 1 fish...and a whole lot of motivation.

Comments

Miss Margaret said…
congrats. serendipity. a pretty bit of springtime in the fall.
Flying Ties said…
You can't ask for anything more than that - great story and good to hear you're back on the horse, flogging the water you know.

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