Driftless Trout Anglers

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West Branch  
#1 Posted : Sunday, May 7, 2017 9:04:46 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

Friday looked like it would be a decent day, so my usual fishing partner and I decided to hit a couple of streams. When you're self-employed, you can do this even if work is piled up--I mean, what's one more day? We drove to the biggest water in our territory with the intent of fishing a tributary later. We split up and each headed for the more obscure segments of the 10 mile long stream. The bite wasn't really on, but with some work it was possible to catch some fish by nymphing deep. I managed to lose what appeared to be close to a 20 incher trying to horse him away from a brush pile. When we met at the car to move to the smaller stream we had each caught 20 fish. Nothing to brag about, but not too bad.

We drove down stream to the little spring creek hoping to hit the evening hatch. We set out in opposite directions with high hopes. Fish were starting to rise to the tiny bugs I could see coming off everywhere. I put a size 22 mayfly on my tippet and after a couple of casts had a respectable brookie in my hands. Over the next couple of hours that was the ONLY fish I caught. Smaller flies, down to 28, were ignored. Every now and then a fussy brown would come and take a leisurely look at my offerings and then back away. I tried caddis, various mayflies, and a variety of nymphs with no result. All the while fish were rising to bugs that appeared to be about a size 36. Nothing I had interested those browns in the slightest.

Back at the car by buddy reported a major caddis hatch at his end of the stream. He had casually caught 22 browns to my single brook trout. This has happened to me before, but not for a long time. Every tme I imagine that I have things figured out, a day comes along that proves me so very wrong.

Next time!

Edited by user Sunday, May 7, 2017 11:49:23 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Second grade spelling errors.

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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Sunday, May 7, 2017 11:34:08 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 63 times
Was thanked: 97 time(s) in 83 post(s)
West Branch wrote:
Smaller flies, down to 28, were ignored. Every now and then a fussy brown would come and take a leisurely look at my offerngs and then back away. I tried caddis, various mayflies, and a variety of nymphs with no result. All the while fish were rising to bugs that appeared to be about a size 36. Nothing I had interested those browns in the slightest.


It's a mystery, isn't it?

I had a similar thing happen on Thursday. In the morning they were hammering Black Caddis and Mayfly patterns. But on a nearby stream in the afternoon with the same conditions and weather, nothing. Like you mentioned, every now and then a Trout would slowly rise up to take a look, and then refuse at the last second.

What was different? Even Mat at the Driftless Fly Shop mentioned that at times it's impossible to figure out the calculus of the Trout bite. Tiny environmental changes unseen by us dictate their behavior. And often they can turn on or off at the slightest whim.

Jay Ford Thurston suggests in his books that a water temperature rise of as little as one degree is enough to get Trout moving, or shut them down if it drops. I think that even sun angle can be a big factor, depending upon where Trout hold when feeding. If the sun is in the wrong place in the sky, no bite. Maybe hey can only see food when the sun is right?

If someone can figure it all out, they'll make millions selling the formula!


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
Gurth  
#3 Posted : Sunday, May 7, 2017 12:45:03 PM(UTC)
Gurth
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 932
Man
Location: Madison

Thanks: 57 times
Was thanked: 72 time(s) in 58 post(s)
William Schlafer wrote:

If someone can figure it all out, they'll make millions selling the formula!

-Bill



And trout fishing would become trout catching and become boring. Smile


I need to be humbled every once in a while and fortunately the trout seem to know just when.

Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
William Schlafer  
#4 Posted : Sunday, May 7, 2017 1:06:32 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,181
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

Thanks: 63 times
Was thanked: 97 time(s) in 83 post(s)
It's also humbling to consider that a creature with a brain smaller than an pencil eraser head can outwit us so often.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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