It's taken me a while to get to this post because I've been trying to figure out how to get the pics up from an old camera. Anyway:
A month or so ago, I headed out to an SNP stream that's stocked below and has native brookies up above. I planned to fish both sections, and of course was more optimistic than was reasonable.
Just a few casts into my outing, I hooked into a trout. I thought it was a small one, and even though I got it on the reel, I worked it in like it was a minnow. When I got him to my feet, I was shocked at how big he was (not huge, maybe 9 inches) and he was shocked that some human was reaching his hand in the water to pick him up. I'd left my net at home -- not a necessity in this area -- and it possibly cost me a fish, because once he saw he was in real danger, he took off downstream, over a little piece of rapids (if you can call it that) and the hook popped free.
I fished hard the rest of the day, with only a little luck, a tiny native brookie that I dropped before I could get a pic (and I have a friend who would say the camera was my whole problem -- I was certainly thinking about snapping on of that first fish while I was bringing him in).
I also fished this pool pretty thoroughly (and if you know the stream, you know where this is):
It's tricky to fish, because it's on a stream crossing, and unless you're the first person there, it's likely someone's fished it, splashed in it, or is currently swimming in it. I'm sure there are fish there, so I always take a few casts. This morning, like others, nothing happened. Then I had a perfect drift on my final cast and started bringing in my line. Suddenly a monster brookie rose up and hit a ... stick.
Really? My perfect cast and drift and proper fly and nothing. But a stick?
Eventually I went back to the stocked section where I had hooked the first trout, and this guy was in my way:
Even though it's just a garter snake (I'm relatively sure), I gave him some room and fished downstream a little. I quickly had a hit, set the hook and turned the fish, a typical-sized brookie. I got a look at him, but he immediately came loose. I was amazed at how this fish just materialized.
All in all, not a wasted day: I'd hooked three trout and landed one, and I'd seen a snake, and, at the very least, I'd spent a nice day outdoors, doing something I love in place that looks like this:
So why was I so bummed?
Well, sometimes it's all about the fish. I'd wanted to catch something that day, and felt like I hadn't. Any fishing writer worth his salt talks about how it isn't really about catching fish, but, for me, some days it is. Not all days, but sometimes the other stuff just isn't completely fulfilling.
Of course, in my defense, the other days can be pretty nice to... (to be continued)