Short post today, but it's one I'm proud of. I got out to chase wild trout over the weekend, and decided to revisit a small but nice stream I hadn't fished since the pre-runoff conditions. I really like the lower sections of this stream because it has all the challenging characteristics of a typical small stream, with one major difference: as it enters the lower section, the stream widens and passes through some mature forest, meaning there's plenty of room for casting. This is a luxury that a small stream fisherman doesn't often enjoy.
Still, that isn't to say that the stream is easy, by any means. A good one to take a beginner to? Sure. There's no shortage of textbook riffles and pools. But between the obvious spots lie some tricky undercuts with low-hanging branches, hard-to-reach seams, and those drifts that would be easy, except you can't position yourself in the logical place because you've got to be stealthy.
I was working my way up to a pool that had a pool that was long enough to create one of those stealth-related difficulties. The head of the pool has a few boulders scattered through it, making for great fish-holding water, but while it'd be easy to cover that water from up close, you'd spook every fish to get there. So the alternative is fishing from the bottom of the pool and making 35-45 foot casts (do-able, but a tricky proposition with a short 1wt nonetheless) up into the boulders, making 2-3 foot drifts, and casting again. Making things even more interesting, most of your drifts here are only visible for a foot or two before the current takes your fly to the opposite side of a rock from where you're standing.
It was on one such drift, toward the outside of the pool, that my fly drifted to the opposite side of a moss covered boulder. Just as I was about to lift my line for another cast, I noticed a few drops of water and ripples coming from behind the rock, so I set the hook with a quick snap and my hunch was proven by the resulting head shake.
The head shake assured me of something else, too: this was not another 5" native, which usually come splashing across the surface. No, this fish immediately pulled me the the bottom of the pool and stayed there, the green blank of my 1wt flexing deeper than it has in months.
After a spirited battle, I pulled the fish up to a partially submerged rock for a few quick photos...
And soon after, his release...