The boys are doing a little post Christmas fishing at Depuy’s Spring Creek today. Alex and his buddies Sean and Gavin invited Evan and I to tag along. Unlike the last time we were here on my birthday, today we have favorable fishing weather. Mild wind, and very low visibility with snow flurries here and there. Temperature is about mid 30’s and all things look good for some sort of bug hatch. I’ll try some nymphing first.
Nope, not gonna try nymphing anymore. Too much messing around with tiny tippet and tangles right now. I want to fish streamers. Plus, we haven’t really been seeing the bug activity we’ve hoped for. Although, I really didn’t give it that much time.
I’m fishing an olive wooly bugger variant called a “Grinch”. Honestly, it’s too perfect not to try, and I know some other guys do real good fishing single hook olive streamers here. Walking my fly downstream, I’m aiming right for the far bank. The closer the better. When I overshoot a cast, I gently wiggle my rod tip and slide the fly off the brush and it is right in the strike zone. I’m looking for browns that are lying right underneath the overhanging bank. A tricky cast, but when you get in a rhythm, and the bite is on – it is some of the most exciting fishing.
My hunch was worth the switch, and as I am swinging my fly through a run that three of us had unsuccessfully nymphed through, I get a good strike. A big dark brown trout comes rolling into my net. Wow. That was great. So they want streamers today huh? Well that’s fine with me.
While the other guys have caught a few rainbows here and there on nymphs, the streamer bite has stayed pretty consistent for me today. All browns though, no rainbows or cutthroat. I’m swinging my fly again, this time under a heavily wooded overhang. I’m leading my drift with my rod tip so just the end of my bright orange fly line is hitting the water surface. The strike that I get is very easy to detect, and I set the hook on another good brown. I’m keeping my rod tip low and to the downstream side of the fish, trying to get it away from the sticks. He jumps, and gets caught up in the overhang for a second. Shit! Get out of there buddy come on! After a few wiggles the trout flops back in the water and I steer him to calmer water, then my net. I can’t believe how aggressive these browns are today.
The snow is really picking up for the moment. And as Sean hesitantly switches to a small purple wooly bugger, he immediately catches a few noteworthy browns. I’m still seeing browns swipe at my bugger in all the right water. This is the day we’ve been waiting for. Every deeper pool seems to be holding at least a few aggressive fish. Sometimes you only get one chance at them, but sometimes you can move the same trout three or four times before you hook them.
I’m drifting under another branch and I see my line tighten. Nice brown. I watch his belly flash when his head turns with the hook set. O yea, big fish! The fish is faced down stream, and I feel one good head shake, then slack. He’s gone. Why do the good ones always get away?
The hackle on my fly is hanging loose and all beat up now. I guess that’s why Kelly Galloup reinforces his hackles with a wire rap. Smart guy. But I don’t change it out, and it keeps catching fish. Mostly smaller browns around 12- 14 inches though. I guess I lost my big fish today, but any time you leave the spring creek with a handful of trout, you’ve had a good time.
Something to think about – How often do you actually see living sculpins swimming around the river bottom? I mean, we all know they are around and a great meal for bigger trout – but I never really see them. Well I did today – I thought the little guy was dead, and as I reached my hand in the river to scoop him up, he darts away. Aha! Maybe there is something going on in here today that has these little sculpins super active. And the correspondingly HOT streamer bite would have to agree with this theory. But, like my boss, Dan says “Don’t overthink it, they are just fish!”0