"Flyfishing does have its social aspects - on some of our crowded trout streams it can get too social - but esentially it's a solitary, contemplative sport. People are left alone with themselves in beautiful surroundings to try to accomplish something that seems to have genuine value"John Gierach
It was freezing on Friday morning with a days long northwest wind that was trying to create wind knots which are the sole creation of some bad casting. Few were at the PIPE parking lot which is a good thing because it meant that the bait boys would not be there and maybe a bad thing because the hatchery truck hadn't come down the chimney with gifts. Anyway, I started at the run above the gauge (I always tell you where I fish as usual) and ended at the Tree Pool.
I fished that run above the gauge hard and took two smallish bows - nothing like the bigger fish that I saw nymphing a week before. The rig was partridge and orange on top with a swift serendipity below. Each fly took a fish.
I made my way down to the wider section below with the good riffle at it's head (I need a name for this great spot. Any suggestions?) and took the most gorgeous rainbow I ever caught on this river. 16 inches and slim with a dark red stripe, green above and below with an almost yellow (brown trout like) under belly. He (always a "He") took the soft hackle and fought like hell. It ended up making my day and certainly wasn't just dumped into the river!
I could see nothing in the water from the Pipe to the Tree which may be way I saw no trout taken.
Sunday morning and it's time to explore. 10:00 am finds me in Bondsville below the lower dam (Yes, I tell you every time) ready to go. It's freezing again!!
First observation: There's nobody there not even a bait slinger. Second observation: There's next to no litter (bait containers, coffee cups). Conclusion: This place hasn't been stocked. Third observation/feeling: THIS IS GREAT! If I can catch trout here then maybe the are holdovers which would feel so much more rewarding than fishing over a pod of truck trout.
The first 15 minutes were a blank so now I know it's not been stocked. As I swung the flymph (still have them on the brain) towards the tail of the pool I get the TUG. A few minutes later a 14 inch brown came to the net. It was the color that caught me. Dark brown on top with sides that looked like butter that was in the saute pan a bit too long. Freshly stocked?? I don't think so.
More casts as I work downstream. It's after 10am on this first day of Spring but my guides are still icing up in this semi shaded area. Another cast into a calm area across the stream results in a second hit. A 12 inch brown that had been to the same makeup artist as the first came to the net.
What's the story here? Simple, there are holdovers in this river everywhere. They're not ganged up to be exploited but are spread around and you have to find them. Is the lower Swift brown trout land?? Go see for yourself? They will make your day.
I've gotten a lot of emails over the years thanking me for giving locations where I and my clients have done well on the rivers that we fish. I've never named an unstocked stream and never will BUT I will name spots on public water because it's YOUR water. I still fish a few hundred times a year and unless I find myself at the Y Pool (a good spot) or the PIPE we are usually alone. There are those who have read and commented and asked all kinds of questions on this blog about the spots that I fished AND then got mad that I named the spot again AFTER they fished it!!! (yes, it's true) The great rivers of the East, the Catskill Rivers and even our Farmington, have reams of published memories where pool are named. This adds to the legacy of flyfishing. I guess some people don't like that!!
Happy First Day Of Spring!!!