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A couple weeks ago Mark Lynch and I headed out the parkway for some wild brookie fishing before the winter snow shuts everything out there down. We wanted to try a new stream I had heard about from a local fisherman. After a long hike down to the river and another hike back up the hill on the other side to a smaller tributary we finally got above the waterfalls and started fishing.

Unfortunately I had not followed my own advice and forgot to check the closest stream gauge. The stream was pretty close to blown out from the last rain. We tried for a hour or so but only had one speck fall for a green weenie fished deep in a pool. Finally I suggested we head back down to the main stream and see if we could get above the heavy water. After about 30 minutes or so it became obvious that we weren’t going to be able to fish back upstream against the heavy discharge so headed back up the trail.

Just before heading back up the mountain to the parkway we decided to make a few more casts into some pocket water where the river flattened out and the current wasn’t so fast. As I stepped out into the current I noticed a couple brookies holding on the bottom–the good thing was they didn’t see me. I tossed my nymph out into the current above them and they either ignored it or moved aside for it to pass. Brookies are usually so opportunistic this time of year that they’ll grab anything you put in front of them, but not this time.

Finally after a few tries one of them left and I got frustrated and decided to watch the remaining male a minute. This is something I don’t often have a chance to do with brookies, since if I can see them they usually see me too and scurry off to hide under a rock. But this time the remaining male must have been concentrating on lunch, because as I watched I saw him rise and take something off the surface. I quickly snipped off my nymph and tied on a #16 Adams–one of my go-to dry flies. I cast out into the current a couple feet above the brookie and watched as he quickly rose under my fly and grabbed it.

So the next time you’re out there thrashing the water and the fish aren’t taking what you’re offering take the time to watch them and see what they’re eating–it can make catching a much more frequent part of fishing–Larry