Archive for brown trout

The Last Good Country – Part 1 of 2

Posted in Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on November 4, 2017 by stflyfisher

It’s great northern air. Absolutely the best trout fishing in the country. No exaggeration. Fine country. Good color, good northern atmosphere, absolute freedom, no summer resort stuff and lots of paintable stuff.
—Ernest Hemingway to his friend Jim Gamble, 1919

I recently got a chance to escape the rat race and spend a glorious week on the Bighorn River in Montana. It’s the second time I’ve gone, and once again I am already missing it: the broad khaki river valley marked by clusters of green and gold cottonwood, the high desert mountains, and the red cliffs that bound the river. Of course there are many rivers in Montana and great trout fishing, but the Bighorn has found a place in my fly fishing soul; a soul that needs rekindling with future visits – hopefully lots of them.

This blog post is in two parts – Part 1 covering the first 4 days of the trip and Part 2 covering the remainder. The first part of the trip was unguided – the second part was done with a great outfitter and each day’s fishing was with a guide, fishing from a drift boat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I have been drawn to the Bighorn, so was Ernest Hemingway to the woods, lakes, and rivers of Northern Michigan. His family purchased a cottage on Walloon Lake and summered there every year from the time of his birth. The place made an indelible impression on Hemingway: one that shaped him as a man and provided a well-spring for his work as a Nobel prize-winning writer. Hemingway referred to Walloon Lake and the surrounding area as “the last good country”; a place he held near to him even later in life as he spread his wings and set up shop in more distant locales like Key West, Bimini, Kenya, Idaho, and Cuba. One of Hemingway’s great short stories, “Big Two-Hearted River” takes place in Northern Michigan, and it is one all anglers should read.

I first fished the Bighorn back in 2007 with my brother-in-law, Jeff. On that trip, the two of us fished for 3 days with the same guide (who still guides there – Ryan Stefek), and we experienced incredible fishing, mainly through nymphing. I was somewhat new to the game of nymphing, armed only with the basics. I knew how to mend and at least attempt a drag-free drift. I learned a lot from our guide, among them how to keep flies clean, how to set on any hesitation of the indicator, and how to do the reach cast. As I recall we caught 20+ good quality browns and rainbows a day, with double hook-ups on the drift a somewhat regular occurrence. I landed a few big rainbows too, some in excess of 20″.

As good as the fishing was, I had returned since, but Jeff had, fishing with a regular group of anglers over the next 10 years. These anglers found Eastslope Outfitters, a husband-wife fishing and hunting business catering to anglers and hunters in the Bighorn valley. Jeff had invited me along many times but I declined for myriad reasons. That was a mistake.

I finally accepted yet another invitation way back in January of this year. Reservations were made for the mid-September trip that at the time seemed so distant. Time passed: the month of August was consumed with preparation – prepping new lines, assembling leaders, and lining up my rods. I brought with me a favorite nymphing rod – my 10’6″, 4 weight, Cortland Competition Nymph rod with a double taper 3 weight line. Added to the mix would be my Scott A2 9 foot 4 piece 5 weight for dry fly duty – this was the “veteran” rod that had served nymphing duty and a little dry fly duty on my previous trip. But suddenly I was confronted with a streamer rod void.

I own several great streamer rods but they are all 2 piece 7 weights. I needed a 4 piece 7 weight so I could pack all my rods in a duffel bag. I considered building a 4 piece 7 weight, but time just ran out on me. I looked over alternatives and read an interesting post on the Bighorn Angler website about their favorite gear. Tucked within the words of wisdom in the post was a blurb about the 9 foot 4 piece 6 weight Helios 2 being a really great streamer rod and a good back-up nymph rod. This rod is built for saltwater use as well and has a fighting butt. That made it even more appealing – a very light fast action (tip-flex) rod I could fish streamers with and use double duty for light saltwater use (a great rod for the ladies). And so I purchased one…

Trip preps were made in January but August came quickly. I began to get my gear in order in the weeks ahead of my flight. Lines were checked and cleaned, leaders were replaced, and a book on Bighorn River fly fishing was purchased and then read and studied. The book, Fly Fishing the Bighorn River, by Steve Galletta, proved an excellent guide to fishing the river. Jeff and I would be fishing the first 4 days on our own, and while Jeff was very knowledgeable of the dry fly game, I wanted to be ready to do some nymph and streamer fishing as well.

9781934753347_p0_v1_s600x595

Steve Galletta’s book on fly fishing the Bighorn proved well worth the read. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to fish this terrific fishery.

We arrived in Billings on Saturday and I was immediately surprised with two things – the high heat and the haze in the air as a result of forest fires. Our outfitter had warned to be prepared for anything, from high heat, to freezing and snowy conditions, and everything in between, and that advice would prove right on.

After picking up our rental car and stocking up on beer and liquor (Fort Smith is dry!), we drove the 1.5 hours to Fort Smith where Jeff had set up at a nice motel room. We checked in, picked up some dry flies at one of the fly shops, and headed out in hopes of cashing in on the evening black caddis hatch. We fished from the 3 mile pullout and while the black caddis seemed to be hatching just fine, the trout were either busy subsurface or not interested in this epic hatch. It would turn out that the black caddis dry fly action never really turned on. Locals, including guides and fly shop staff had no explanation for the lack of surface feed on this heavy hatch.

We returned to our motel room, drank beer, and readied for the trico hatch, an early morning hatch that could involve millions of these tiny mayflies and lots of trout hungry for them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brother-in-law Jeff, relaxing on a hot evening after setting up for the morning trico hatch.

That first morning of fishing was every bit as good as I could have hoped it would be. Jeff and I arrived at the access point a little late compared to what we’d do the next few days, and combined with being a Sunday, the parking lot was already pretty busy for 6:30 am. We fished our 5 weight dry fly rods with a 9 foot 5X leader. Attached on the business end was a size 20 spent-wing trico followed by 12″ – 18″ of 5X tippet and a trico CD emerger.

The tandem rig worked well but visibility was difficult in the early morning darkness. We would later fish a dark trico CD emerger followed by a white winged trico emerger. The dark / black lead fly was often easier to see. Regardless, fishing a tandem rig increased the odds of watching the drift and obviously increased the odds of an eater.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jeff with a nice “trico” brown. Note his fly rod, one that’s been mentioned here before!

Jeff was off to the races the very second we were rigged up at the car and and it wasn’t long before we were huffing down a dusty trail that wound along the river. It was already on the warm side – in the 70’s – and we had decided to wet wade. We came around a bend in a river braid where the river had gouged out a nice deep bend pool. We were a good 6 feet above the water and looking down I could hardly believe my eyes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A nice male Bighorn brown caught on a #20 trico dry…

From my perch on the elevated bank, I could almost touch a pod of nice browns with my fly rod as they gorged on the spent tricos drifting down the river. We quickly and carefully descended on the feast and I hooked up but then lost a solid fish as it fought in the heavy current below. We moved upriver and began to cast to steady risers. The action lasted 2 hours, waning in the last 30 minutes. The sun climbed and the morning heat began to press down on us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looking upriver at a tailout where browns and rainbows feasted on the early morning trico hatch. Note the big mats of aquatic grass – signs of the water’s fertility.

We enjoyed a late breakfast at “Trico’s”, appropriately named and then wandered the fly shops in “downtown” Fort Smith. I stocked up on some nymphs I had read about in Steve Galletta’s great book, namely the poodle sniffer and the split case PMD. Both nymphs would turn out to be outstanding patterns and helped me dredge up quite a few browns and rainbows in the hot afternoons. Both flies featured triggers – namely the green wire on the poodle sniffer and the bright yellow spot on the PMD.

Fished in a tandem rig below a few split shot and an indicator, these nymphs seemed to outfish the standard scud and sowbug patterns more typical of Bighorn nymphing. Black caddis were certainly around in the evenings, so I figured a pupa pattern would definitely be about in the afternoons, and PMD’s (pale morning duns) could be seen hatching in the afternoons.

On successive hot afternoons I had some nice sections of the river around the access all to myself, save a few drift boats passing through. I found a nice run on a river braid that featured some fast water entering into a deep hole with an undercut bank. This too was heavy water but not as fast as the main river section it fed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The upper end of the run. Farther upstream was very fast water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The lower end of the run where it enters the main river channel. Note the weedy frog water in the foreground.

Rigged with a split case PMD as my anchor fly and a poodle sniffer on the trailer, I worked my nymph rig through the fast water at the head of the run. I adjusted my indicator for the depth and it wasn’t long before the indicator plunged forward and a nice rainbow launched out of the water. As fast as it was on, it was off. What followed was steady action. I worked the run from head to toe and there was no shortage of affection from browns (the majority), rainbows, and one stocky whitefish…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bighorn brown…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This rainbow could not resist the split case PMD…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The only “whitey” of my trip. On my first trip on the Bighorn, my first fish was a whitefish. I remember our guide lamenting – a curse on the trip. In both cases, whitefish actually seemed to bring good luck for me, anyhow. And so I welcomed this one…

My first day of nymphing proved excellent – my second day was even better, with 15 trout landed and quite a few lost.

The dry fly fishing also got better. On the following mornings, Jeff and I were up earlier, walking to the river in the dark with the moon high above. Being prepared the night before and rising earlier meant choice fishing locations. Wading wet was delightful, and easier, but the first hour or so was pretty chilly. Most anglers who dressed in waders enjoyed the morning coolness but wilted as the sun climbed high in the morning sky. Daytime highs were hitting the upper 90’s!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jeff casting to early morning upstream risers. He loved the rod I built for his 60th and it showed in his tight-looped casting.

We had the dry fly fishing dialed in nicely by the second morning. Sometimes the trout would school up in big pods and just wander back and forth across the river, slowly pushing up river, snouts up. It was an amazing sight that made one’s hands shake and fumble with excitement when tying on a fly…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another beautifully marked Bighorn brown. 

The fish were not spooky when in “full feast mode”. With just a little stealth, one could easily approach behind a working pod. Most times, even hooking up did not put the pod down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Can you see the brown?

Jeff and I fished the river on our own until Tuesday – we then moved from our hotel room to the Eastslope Outfitters lodge. The last time I had fished the Bighorn with Jeff, we started off with guided fishing and ended up with a day or two fishing on our own. I felt good about our first few days of fishing success and now looked forward to fishing under the tutelage of Bighorn River experts.

Part 2 of 2 follows…

Advertisements

Listening to guides…

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing, Writing with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by stflyfisher

When local fly fishing guide Wayne Aldridge recently spoke to our Trout Unlimited chapter, I took copious notes. Part of my studiousness was in the interest of writing a report on his presentation: “Fall fly fishing on the West Branch of the Delaware”. But most of my note-taking was out of pure self-interest: I have learned to listen to guides. This past Sunday was a perfect example of how listening to a guide can pay off.

After recent dousings of rain, the weekend had looked like it might be the perfect set-up for fishing the Cayuga Lake tribs. A good push of water along with the sting of some frosty nights this time of year is typically what sends a love message to the landlocked salmon and brown trout staging in the lake. The fish sense that the time is right and move up the tribs to spawn, giving fly fishers a golden opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime. But timing the run is never a sure thing, and while monitoring the USGS river gauge and the weather report are key, there’s nothing like being on the spot and testing the waters to really know when the run is on. And so, an email inquiry was quickly dispatched to fellow blogger and trout bum extraordinaire, Artie Loomis, and the inquiry was just as quickly answered: “Fall Creek isn’t happening yet”. As I stared at those disappointing words early Sunday morning, I immediately started thinking about plan B…

Plan B...

A quick glance at the Hale Eddy river gauge showed perfect wading flows, but the potential for dirty water loomed large in my mind. The tailwaters are known for producing a turbid discharge in the Fall, the result of turnover in the reservoir that feeds the river. Most fly anglers would not even give discolored water a chance figuring the fish can barely see their nose in such conditions. But the advice of Wayne Aldridge suggested otherwise – that stained water in combination with the presence of spawned-up male brown trout in a bad-ass mood can make for some truly outstanding fishing. What’s good for a guide is always plenty good enough for me…

Shortly before 9 am I crossed the river at the Rt 17 / Deposit overpass. The Gentleman’s pool was flowing picture-perfect and its banks were totally void of anglers but the river water was the color of dirty wash-water. I made my way to the river road and was butt-deep in the 45 degree water in no time, armed with my Scott A2 9 foot 6 weight streamer rod, a vest stuffed with flies, and hope in a guide’s advice.

The river was in its peak autumn glory and I had the entire stretch of river to myself. Mist rose off the water and encircled me like cigar smoke, but despite the frosty morning temps, the constant casting, mending, and stripping that’s required when streamer fishing warmed me up in no time.

I started the morning fishing a white conehead zuddler on a river braid above the pool. The water was cleaner there – the channel was fast in spots but the far bank was undercut and laden with thick cover. A downed tree created a deep green pool with a gorgeous back eddy as well. I had once streamer-fished this braid on an early spring morning and experienced one of those vicious, arm-jerking strikes that momentarily stops one’s heart and left my 1X tippet clean of any fly.

The channel failed to produce, so I made my way to the riffle at the head of the pool where two spin anglers had taken up position and now broke the morning solitude. They were throwing what appeared to be spinners based on the glint of light that beamed off the end of their lines. It wasn’t long before the taller of the two caught a small brown, and then another. That was enough for me to change my fly. Tucked in my fly box was a black maribou streamer with a zonker-style body of gold. I figured the gold flash and contrasting black color might show better in the murk of the pool.

I walked downriver below the spin anglers and worked the water thoroughly, hanging up every now and again. Losing flies, especially streamers, can get pricey, but I chalk that up to the price of success after another “guide-ism” that states; “if you’re not losing flies on the bottom every once in a while, you’re not fishing deep enough”. I quartered my cast upstream, then stripped it hard, down and across. After every few casts I moved down a few steps and continued this way, eventually hooking up with a few feisty browns, small but full of spirit.

Mid-morning, I headed back to the car for a break, my legs numb from the cold water. The spinning anglers had also left the river and we chatted a bit in the warmth of the sun. These guys were from New Jersey and had apparently done well on a Saturday float trip of the Main Stem. They inquired as to the fishing of the West Branch and I told them that fall was regarded as the best time to catch the brown trout of a lifetime. Indeed, towards the end of his presentation, Wayne Aldridge had gone even further stating that every year the river gave up a fish in the 27″ – 30″ range.

I returned to the river fishing tandem streamers, starting at the head of the pool and slowly working down-river. Partway through I changed flies again (another guide-ism – to change type and color often when streamer fishing) and this time tied on a snow-white bead-head zonker as my lead fly with a black ghost riding shotgun some 2 feet back.

Halfway down the pool I snagged what I thought was the bottom but then watched in disbelief as a very nice brown launched airborne and tail-walked across the river at the end of my line. The fish fought deep – a solid heavy slug-fest and much more in character with what brown trout are known to do so well. I gradually worked him out of the main current but saw little of his size in the discolored water. Minutes later and after a few misguided attempts, I finally got him part way into my woefully inadequate net…

The pay-off...

After releasing this beautiful male brown, regaled in spawning colors and sporting a pronounced kype, I thanked the good Lord for two things: the advice of guides and ears to listen with…

Tight lines…

Big Rocks

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on May 23, 2010 by stflyfisher

Stephen Covey, the noted personal development author, has a philosophy on time management that classifies all activities into 4 quadrants – Urgent but Important, Urgent but Not Important, Not Urgent but Important, and Not Urgent but Not Important. Covey preaches that the second quadrant (“Q2”), or those things in life that are not urgent but important, are the tasks we should truly prioritize above all others. They are often preventive in nature, much like regular exercise, which is not urgent, but when delayed or worse yet, ignored, can have significant negative consequences on our health over the long term. They may also be an important aspect of personal development, like the earning of an advanced degree. They are the key to a life well-lived.

Covey illustrates the importance of “Q2” with a demonstration where students are asked to fill a jar with a set amount of sand, pebbles, and rocks. Most students err when faced with this challenge by filling the jar first with the sand and pebbles and find to their dismay, there is no room for the rocks. Covey uses the demonstration as a metaphor for life, placing the big rocks in first, adding the pebbles, and finally pouring in the sand. The big rocks, of course, are the important, not urgent things in life. By placing them first, all of the smaller things fit in around them, leading to a full life of few regrets. By not placing the big rocks first, they never fit in because of all of the little things in life.

I was reminded of this demonstration this last weekend. On Saturday, my sister called and in the course of talking about all of the small stuff in our lives, she mentioned that someone she knew had just lost her husband. The couple had gone to bed the night before and when the morning dawned, this woman woke to the tragic realization that her 40 year old husband had passed on in the night. We talked about what matters most, how short our time in this world can be, and how dearly we must approach our time.

So early on Sunday morning I decided to start my day, in the words of a very close soul, reinvigorating, rejuvenating, and recreating – a definite Q2 activity by Covey’s definition – and a priority. The smallmouth bass spawn was winding down on the rivers and I figured the fish would not be such willing takers after participating in their own “Q2” work over the last few weeks! The river gauge for the West Branch of the Delaware was looking very attractive with flows of 500 cfs and the weather forecast was fine.

I got up early that morning and drove Rt 17 East through that good country of Windsor, crossing a somewhat murky Susquehanna and the West Branch at the Deposit “quickway” bridge. Looking downstream from the bridge, I quickly ascertained that the Westie was flowing like a trout river should; beautifully blue and dotted with whitened riffle water. Best yet was the fact that not a soul was fishing the expansive glassy water of the Gentleman’s Pool.

I made my obligatory stop at the West Branch Angler, which, oh-by-the-way, was sporting a new addition and lots more gear. Larry Finley, the Fly Shop manager, was able to suggest some nymph patterns, including a caddis emerger, that would end up being the ticket. After my stop, I drove downriver on the hard pan river road and by 9:30, I was knee deep in the 48 degree West Branch at Balls Eddy.

The beautiful West Branch of the Delaware River...

The river level, flow rate and water clarity of the river were all perfect. Early on, there were a few caddis coming off, but little else. I rigged up with a small beadhead caddis larvae and a March Brown spider soft hackle and began a slow methodical search for fish. At the head of my favorite pool is a fast riffle with an interesting pocket where rainbows love to hang. In a previous post I referred to this spot as “the rainbow’s den”, but working my 2 fly rig through this wonderful hold did not elicit a strike. I kept moving down the pool, changing flies, adjusting weight, then working back upstream, each time changing my pattern selection a bit.

Around 10:30, the caddis began coming off more steadily. The hatch was certainly no snowstorm, as it can be later in the day, but it signaled that things were warming up and that the trout might be moving a bit. It was at this point that I tied on the WBA-recommended caddis emerger pattern as my trailing fly, behind my beadhead brassie attractor.

After more dredging of the pool, I finally hooked up with a nice brown. This fish did the normal “brown” thing – holding like a rock in the current, then getting pissed off and suddenly reversing downstream to the safety of deeper water. There he slugged it out a while, finally coming up but still swinging like a punched out boxer.

Nice Westie brown...

Getting the first fish to the net is always a confidence booster and I quickly got back to business after releasing this beautiful wild brown.

I have found I’ll often pick up rainbows on the swing when nymph fishing so I never end a drift until I’ve let my flies tail out, occasionally noodling the rod a bit as they hang in the current below me. On one such swing I felt a strong tug and set the hook on my second fish of the day. The initial response was as predictable as hooking a smallmouth; this rainbow launched out of the water like it had JATO (jet-fuel assisted take off) rockets strapped to it and threw another leap into its repertoire halfway through its electrifying fight.

The rainbow with JATO...

I fished a little while longer and had another, much smaller brown, somehow pull off a short distance release (SDR) as it shot downstream between my legs. The stunt left me bent over in the middle of that majestic river, searching my wader crotch for a very hard-to-find #16 caddis emerger! Score one angler-humiliation for the trout…

After extricating myself from that situation, I decided to call it a short but pleasant day on the river and head back to the parking access. When I got back to my car, I lit up a cigar and took time to actually enjoy the end of my trip – breaking down my rod, pulling off my waders, stowing my gear, watching other fisherman pull in and rig up with all the hope in the world plain as the day on their determined faces.

Then I drove home, windows open, puffing away, thinking of the little rocks waiting for me – the lawn to mow, the weeding to do, the breakfast dishes, the dead tree to take down. None of that really mattered, however; the big rocks were already in place.

Cayuta Creek

Posted in Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing with tags , , , , on October 6, 2009 by stflyfisher

Cayuta Creek is a wonderful little creek, 40 miles in length, running parallel for much of its length with Route 34 as it meanders to its terminus with the North Branch of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.  Indian legend has it that its source, Cayuta Lake, is named after a beautiful Seneca princess who was kidnapped by another tribe, causing her mother’s tears to form the lake.  An older spelling of the creek’s name, still sometimes used, is “Kayutah”.  The name translates to “little gem”, and that is exactly what this creek is to the fly fishers who frequent it.

Little Gem...

Little Gem...

Cayuta receives healthy stockings of brown trout every year, but is also known for its holdovers and natives.  This is classic upstate fly fishing – fast riffles, slow runs, brush-lined pools, and deep, snag-infested holes abound.  Every year at least a few large browns are taken; indeed, a coworker once told me his son pulled a 6 lb brown out of the lower section.  I had my doubts about this until one bright spring day when my Hendrickson nymph stopped dead as it swept under a downfall.  I set the hook and saw the golden flash of a big brown in the murky green depths.  The weight of the fish in combination with some heavy current did their thing, but suddenly I was a believer, as they say.

Open all year, Cayuta offers solitude, gorgeous upstate surroundings, and the chance for good trout fishing.  While there are only two DEC angler parking areas in the upper section, finding a place to park along most of the creek is not difficult.  Wading and navigating the creek, however, can be tricky.  The best places to do well are going to be the ones the lazy fishermen pass up.

Riffle water...

Riffle water...

Staff Hydrologist Dan and I usually hit Cayuta before the traditional NY opener as a warm-up for the season.  We fish the special regs section, from the Rt. 223 bridge downstream to the Wyncoop Creek Rd bridge, as this is open to artificial lures only.  I’ve fished above this stretch once before and did well.  The section below the special regs stretch I’ve yet to explore, but I’ve been told this area can produce some real slabs, if you’re willing to work for them.

I arrived at the special regs section on Sunday afternoon around 2 pm.  After stringing up my 7′ 4 wt JP Ross Beaver Meadow rod and getting down to the creek I noticed a few caddis about, and as these patterns typically do well here, I tied on a tan caddis dry to see if the fish were looking up.  I worked over a nice riffle, run, pool and another combination of the same and all I could come up with were creek chubs that hurled themselves at the fly.  As I fished, I noticed the water had a slight “snowmelt” color to it.  The temp was a very cool 52 degrees F.  I re-rigged to fish wet, and tied on one of my favorite search patterns – the infamous Picket Pin.

Old Faithful...

Old Faithful...

I hiked down the road about a quarter mile to a place Dan likes to fish – a nice brush-lined riffle that spills into a long run and meandering pool.  I fished the picket pin upstream dead drift, then let the line belly out with the current, swing down, and hang for a moment.  I fished the fly weightless, but let the upstream cast and mend give the fly some depth.  A few casts at this spot and I was tight to a fish – a nice 2 year old.  He came up slow, head-shaking, then ran upstream.  I worked him across into the slack water and quickly released him.

I moved upstream to another good spot – broader in width, shallower in depth, but with good cover.

Looking upstream - a nice pool with good cover...

Looking upstream - a nice pool with good cover...

After much ducking and grappling through those nasty thorn-covered crabapple trees, I was able to position myself across a pool that cut into the bank and had great cover.  I watched the water and a flash of butter yellow and silver caught my eye.  Looking more closely, I could see a brown trout picking off nymphs.  I cast upstream, giving my unweighted fly time to sink as it reached the deep middle of the pool, then I’d let my line tighten and swing the fly through.  I did this 3 times before the fly stopped, my line tightened, and I strip set the hook into another nice brown.  This fish came to the surface, thrashing the water to a froth, and settled back in the pool to slug it out.  I worked the fish out upstream, and released it after a quick photo op…

Cayuta Creek brown...

Cayuta Creek brown...

Pool by pool I worked my way upstream.  I fished the riffles, pools, holes, and downfalls, one by one.

Downfall - deep hole...

Downfall - deep hole...

I picked up 2 more browns, smaller in size, but just as big in their fighting spirit.  Around 5 pm I reached the point upstream where I had parked and decided I had been blessed enough.  I stowed my gear, broke out a cigar, and enjoyed the warmth of the late afternoon.  Across the creek was a cornfield, partially harvested and mowed, and beyond it, hills turning scarlet, copper, gold, and brown.  I felt lucky to be alive…

Autumn afternoon...

Autumn afternoon...

Tight lines…