The steelhead have pretty much returned to the lakes. My spring season was nothing short of useless. I did not get out much and on those trips I did, very few fish were brought to hand. I was in Ohio the same weekend trout opener coincided. Since then, there has been more soccer pitches than river banks and as such, I was in need of some river therapy. It does the soul good to walk a trout stream and take in all the sights, sounds and smells that nature offers. How is cleanses and refreshes one’s well-being and clears the stress. It is here that I do my best thinking.
When I got to the access, there was only one other vehicle. I touched the hood and notice it was still warm. Hopefully (presumably) he went up stream which would leave two of my favorite runs waiting for my arrival. Sure enough, that was the case. I carefully slipped across the river above the intended lie and crept along the bushline. As always, I stood back and watched to see what if anything, was happening. There was a few sporadic surface slashing but with no bugs in the air, I had to presume they were chasing the emergers or the tumblers loosened from their grips on the rocks. I paused and stared deeper to witness flashes of fish.
I tyed on a beaded caddis nymph pattern and placed it well up into the head of the riffles. As I mended and followed the fly pass in front, I started to look down a few feet further to where I anticipated they may strike. The line shot out away from me. It was a hard take that was instinctively met with a pull back of the line and a simultaneous lift of the rod.
My first resident brown of this season. Not big but definitely a second year fish. If not for its average size, it did use the current to its advantage unlike the first year stockers that flip and shake and try to move in two directions at the same time.
The morning was starting out nicely. A few more to hand plus missing several others. I stopped when I reached the tailout and sat back along a raised portion of the bank.
I checked my fly and found that it needed to be retired and a fresh clone put on.
As I was about to open the flybox, the sipping of a very decent fish caught the corner of my eye. I watched a bit more as it rose consistently across and down from me. It was obvious. Put away the nymph and tye on a dry pattern. I strained a bit to figure out which pattern and more importantly, the size. I decided on a #18 BWO. I made a few casts away from the fish before gaining the confidence to place a cast to it. It was textbook. Placed about 3 feet upstream, it drifted without line drag right into the heart of where the rising was taking place. The take was so subtle that the drag from the current had made the line taut so I lifted and set the hook. There was an explosion from the shallow edges. Within seconds the fish was in the main current and pulling heavily. And as quickly as this all took place, the release was even quicker. I suspect my 2lb tippet was frayed from nymphing or that the fish was well over three.
Then again, maybe a few fish and the solitude was all I really needed.