I'm still amazed of the geographic diversity in Washington: a few months ago we were swinging flies for winters in the rainforest; now we're in a high desert, fishing what feels like a southwest Colorado trout stream. Being that I spent a couple years in the latter, it's a great change of pace. After a winter and spring of long rods and Skagits, it's also nice to break out the small sticks and get the rust off the trout-game again.
Like many other places, we're a little short on water at the moment here in the Pacific Northwest. The story was the same for this little stream. Looking at flows before we arrived, we knew it would be lower than it was the last time we were there, but what that would look like or what that would do to the fishing, we didn't quite know.
Eventually we came to the pool where we had stopped last year. Unseen water lay ahead and we were excited, but to this point we hadn't seen any bigger fish, afternoon was coming on and it was very hot. Hope for the bigger fish was failing, but on we went. Finally it happened and out from the depths of a nice pool came a rise of no mistake: the distinctive, slow take of a nice cutthroat. I was half surprised I had waited long enough, but I guess I'll say instinct took over and the hook-set was solid. It would be the fish of the day.
The day's fishing activity was as refreshed as I was. Instead of fishing first, hiking later, we hiked first and fished our way back to the truck. Walking by pool after pool was a little difficult but when we did get started, two of the first three pools produced the bigger fish we were after. The fishing turned out to be really good.
The first good one I got was a ~14" rainbow that was super hot. It jumped a half dozen times and ripped line off my reel. It was a great fight on a 2-weight and a click reel. A while later I came to a pool and started false casting while my buddy took a seat and watched. I was fishing a parachute hopper at the time and the first cast in the pool brought up a gorgeous, healthy cutthroat around 8"; not quite the size we were looking for, but still a good one. The very next cast, a very big fish porpoised on the fly. We could tell it was a very nice cutthroat. I was trigger happy though and pulled the fly away too soon. Luckily, so soon that I hadn't stung the fish. I made one more cast with the same fly to no avail then let the fish be. For 10 minutes we chatted about my next move. I finally tied on a parachute Adams, the only other dry fly I had needed that weekend, and made my way back into the pool. The first cast nothing happened, and the second cast, the same. Then on the third cast, the fish appeared and refused the fly. I put the parachute hopper back on. Again a refusal. I then took my buddy's rod and cast his orange Stimulator several times with no sign of the fish. I was beginning to admit defeat as I tied on a single tungsten stonefly nymph and started working the pool. The first casts to where the fish rose came up empty. I moved up into the eye of the pool and there, in the deepest, heaviest water the indicator went down. I set the hook in disbelief, but the the head shakes that came next gave me no doubt what I'd found. It was a good one, and oh so satisfying. Ain't them cutties purdy?
|No wonder the orange Stimulator worked!|
|'Til next time...|