I wanted to get some time on the water, and with the impending holiday(kids have off of school, money burning holes in pockets, etc) and with the start up of the second portion of hunting season, it looked like it was either today or never.
I up and started to get things ready. While grabbing my trusty 2wt, I paused and looked at the ol' St Croix 9' 5wt. Shaking my head and muttering about "too much rod" I grabbed the 7' 2wt and off I went.
After a brief stop at the "McCafe" I got to the stream about 10:30am. I had to be home by 1pm so the misses could do even more Christmas shopping.
Last time I was here, the stream was a blow out (see my entry Walking the Rod) but today it was gin clear.
The only other people here were a couple that were getting ready to take their horse back on the trails.
I hurried across the cable bridge and to the first spot. I marveled at both the clarity of the water and how the water had receded since the last time I was there. This little stream was very flooded last time.
I stood on the bank and watched for movement down in the pool. Since I didn't have a whole lot of time, I was only going to cast when I spotted a fish. I saw a bunch of fingerlings and a few decent sized trout swimming around. There were even a few feeding off of the bottom.
I tied on a #20 olive midge pupa, and reached for the shot. Well, the only size shot I had was waayyy to big for that sized midge. Not having many options, I put one on about 2 feet above the fly and crossed my fingers.
It was then that I realized that I had not only the wrong sized shot, but the wrong sized rod as well. 7' was a bit to small to control and mend the line. Between the wind blowing the line back towards me in the presentation, and the current pushing on the line, the fly was managing to drift almost in the exact middle between me and the fish.
The showed a little interest, but the buffet must have been too fine in there immediate vicinity, as none came too close to the fly.
I was only to soon that the buffet ran out and the fish slipped off to wherever fish go when they want to be difficult. I did see a scucker for a moment or two, but then he left me as well. Nah, there's no more fish in here, I thought and moved on.
I moved on to my next spot, and then realized that it was no longer there. Over the summer there was a few logs placed across the stream to help stop erosion. It also created a nice little pool where tons of trout would hole up. Now the log, as well as the trout, were gone.
I moved up the stream a bit and a sport that was protected by the current by a tree that the ground had washed away from on the down-current side. A nice little hold if I ever saw one. I approached and saw two darting forms underneath. Smiling to myself I made my first cast.
By this point, I had switched to a purple nurple, as the shot was really too heavy for these fishing conditions, and the nurple had a glass bead on the head, which made minimal commotion when entering the water.
I made a few casts out into the current and let it push the nurple back into the lie. I was doing some very small little pulls on the line as it drifted to give it a little life.
Well, whatever life it had scared the be-jesus out of one of the trout, as I saw it dart downstream. I followed it with my eyes as it approached a very shallow riffle (about 1 inch deep) and then do several jumps as it cleared the riffle and continued on downstream!
Somewhat deflated, I reeled in. There's no fish in there now....
I move on and check all of the other areas that normally hold trout. Nothing. That blowout must have scattered them to the four winds.
In one other spot I found a few stragglers, just over fingerling size. I made a few casts to them, but they were to lazy or full to pay much attention to the fly.
One the way back to the car, I stopped again at the first spot. There were a few of the smaller specimens moving at the very bottom of the pool. I had switch to a griffin's gnat, thinking maybe a dry fly might entice.
After a few casts I noticed that the fly had come near a live version of today's course, and they looked very similar (to my non-bug eating eye anyway.) I watched a few of the trout seem to look up and watch the fly drift past, but I couldn't pry them from the bottom of that pool with a crowbar.
Admitting defeat, I left.
The only positive out of the day was that I got to give a test run to a furled leader I had just made. The leader worked beautifully, laying the fly down with barely a ripple.
So while I had nothing but bricks for weight and a stubby rod, at least my presentation was rock solid.