"The two best times to fish is when it's raining and when it ain't" Patrick McManus
I love September. The weather is starting to cool down, and dry fly fishing can be spectacular as it was this morning down by the horse farm on the Swift. Some #16 ants and some #20 BWO kept the the trout coming to the surface. Lot's of brookies, a rainbow and a brown came to the net with the rainbow reminding me of the fish landing limitations of a Tenkara rod. Anyway, I got there at 7am and didn't see my first angler until 11 which is exactly the way I like it.
There were some strange sightings yesterday morning. First there were the "fighting browns"! Two browns in the 16 inch range spent a good portion of the morning chasing each other up and down a 100 yard segment of the Swift. They were not spawning or playing but really attacking each other. It would be interesting to see if anyone else has seen this behavior.
Now for the dead trout! A large dead pine fell into the top part of Cady Lane within sight of the Tree Pool last week and suddenly made this section even more interesting than it was. It was just below this log that I saw the 20 inch rainbow lying on the bottom. It had just enough life in it to fin away when I tried to net it. I got a good clear look at this fish and could not see any visible wounds. Then, while fishing above the log, I spied a large dead brookie. This fish was over 12 inches I was able to net and examine it. (See photo) Again, no visible predator wounds, no monofilament hanging from it's throat. Just a dead trout!
What killed these trout? The evidence points to careless prolonged handling of these fish. The evidence is clear. These were TROPHY trout that probably spent the summer in the tree pool, lost a long battle with a fly fisher, had a dozen pictures taken while out of the water (these were BIG trout so pictures were taken) and then were released to become that 6-7% mortality rate that they say we have in C+R waters. I've seen a lot of celebrations that clearly take too long. Net the fish, take a photo of the fish while it's in the net and then release the fish. Try not to grab the trout with your hands. If you have to grab it do it while the trout is in your net and your hands are on the OUTSIDE of the net.
Too bad that brookie will not be spawning this Fall.