First Fish of Spring: Part 2

In part one, we left you at the pool with two schools of trout, and we were headed to old stomping grounds. By old, I mean I’ve been there a total of twice, and Jake has to show me the pools.

We started a bit further upstream than the time before, and Jake started off hot with a great fish. It struck hard from a deep pool on a brown woolly bugger, which would turn out to be the color of the run. I went fishless for the longest while, watching as Jake hooked into fish after fish in the short span of an hour.

After a while I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down and traded out my anchor fly for a brown dubbed, gold ribbed midge. Within a couple of casts, I had a not-so subtle explosion on my dry fly. It had nothing to do with the fly change, but it gave me confidence to keep fishing the run.

That confidence paid off, and minutes later I set into a very nice trout. I did what I could to grab a picture, but holding the phone, net, fish, and rod proved too much to handle. The pictures generally aren’t that high on my list, but I would bet my fly rod on the fact that it was the same fish Jake had caught only a few casts prior.

We fished in tandem down the stream, Jake leading the way and catching fish as he went. I’d follow behind, only a few feet back but catching completely different fish. We worked this way for a while, until I stopped to try my hand at some hungry fish. Jake continued on, and after disappointingly getting skunked by the pool of trout, I moved as well. On my move, my fly drifted into a shallow riffle that seemingly held no fish. Then out of the shadowy, orange colored gravel, a fish took a false strike at the dry fly. I had a feeling. I was going to land this fish.

I positioned myself beside the riffle. Two false casts, a mend, and the fish made a move towards my flies again. It took a few tries, but each one the fish would inch closer to the fly and farther out from the stick it rested under. On the fifth cast, he finally committed. The fight wasn’t long, but it was perfect. From sighting the fish to the set and net, maybe 3 minutes had passed. The fish was beautiful, even more than I could imagine after seeing it in the water. It had a light, rust colored dorsal and a delicate pink side and belly. Splattered with leopard spots, the icing on the cake was the white-tipped pelvic fins. By far the prettiest fish of the day, and unless I find a unicorn, it may win fish of the year.

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We finished out the day at the end of the run. If you follow me on instagram, you can see part of the area we fished. Under a certain log, I called my shot and said to Jake, “If I can put my fly next to this log, I bet I get one.”

Three casts, and two fish later, I proved my point. I didn’t say it too loud or proud, Jake hadn’t caught a fish for the last half hour. He had lost his last brown midge, and mine was holding strong. In his defense, he had caught so many fish on that midge that the thread was unraveling and the bead was chipped. It was time to donate one to the river gods. Before we left for the day, I told Jake I wanted one more swing next to the log where I had caught back-to-back fish.

As luck would have it, I wouldn’t even get to the log.

All day, I had fished the same basic rig. Griffith’s Gnat dry, double midge dropper. I’d had a couple on the dry fly, but the last fish was the greatest. It wasn’t the biggest fish, but it made a sound like a breaching whale.

“On the dry!”

Jake looked over, and I walked to hand him the camera. The two weight rod doubled over, the fish finally relented and came to the net. I couldn’t have asked for a better fish to end the first fishing trip of spring.

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