"Fly fishing is the most fun you can have standing up" Arnold Gingrich, 1969
It was cold and dark at 6:45 am when I drove past the Y Pool lot - one vehicle! Then I pulled into the PIPE lot - 4 vehicles. No matter. I knew where everyone would be and I would take the census later. I took my time rigging up because my spot (see title of post) was empty (of course!) which gave me the time to work a "New" soft hackle fly. This is a slimmed down or "reduced" pattern with a brightly colored thorax. That hot color - hot orange, hot red and hot yellow, hot green has been ignored in the past on Soft hackles. Believe me, I've looked hard but found only a few online photos that came close to it. The vast majority of thoraxes out there are basically natural colors. Great colors for most of the year but I wanted something bright for winter fishing. The bodies are almost nonexistent, Just one layer of thread back even to the point. Some have no body short of the hook shank. This gives you the opportunity to tie a smaller fly on a larger hook which means better holding power.
I picked three bows up quickly while losing one that went airborne. I worked my way down stream taking a leftover brookie in the process. This stretch isn't loaded with fish but the satisfaction of fishing it can't be beat!!
Finally I worked my way down to the PIPE. I noticed that more people were leaving than arriving but it was still a surprise to see only two anglers there. One fly fishing and the other flinging a lure. Where are all the bait boys that we were told to expect??
I goofed around down there for a half an hour hooking three and landing one and then decided to go back upstream. Twenty minutes later I saw the last two anglers leaving. Now I could assess the bait boy damage. I tied on my version of a McPhail Buzzer as the bottom fly and all hell broke loose. I took about a dozen in less than an hour with #20 working the best tied to 5x. The trout ignored the soft hackle and only wanted that larva/pupae imitation.
I used to tie this fly exactly to McPhail's instructions and it was very effective but I've reduced this down to basic elements and it works fine plus you can tie them in a minute without breathing hard. I'll be tying some at Charlies in February!!!
I then hoofed it back to the vehicle, broke out my pocket butane stove and heated up a bowl of spiced up tomato soup to go along a giant chicken sandwich and then paid a visit to the upper Swift where I saw a few hardy souls and no trout taken in the hour that I walked around. One word of note: Bill R. mentioned that there is a movement afoot to close the upper Swift (above RT 9) at dusk which will put an end to the brave souls who night fish up there. If any of you know more than I've just said please drop me a line.
Don't listen to those who say the lower river is fished out. It isn't!!!