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The Fisherman

Upstream, Downstream: Perspectives on a Brook

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"Well," I said to myself, "if I can't go steelheading, I'll go wild brook trout fishing."

 

It was a fine consolation prize, and I couldn't have asked for better conditions for this time of year. Densely overcast with occasional sprinkles of rain, and a mercury bonanza of nearly 60 degrees. It was quite possibly the fastest two hours I have ever spent in a car. My first offering of the day, a sz 16 bushy gray Humpy, hit the surface of the brook at 10:00am sharp. But for the first few minutes, no one wanted to play.

 

As I stood on the edge of the 44 degree water, I began daydream. Maybe I should be devoting a little more attention to what was going on around me, rather than my fly skittering across the surface. The first place I looked was up. The foliage of New England gets all the juice, but there was something in the stark beauty of the bare limbs overhead, silhouetted against the leaden sky, that was understatedly beautiful.

 

Memo from the wilderness: it's almost winter.

[img=

 

And yet, just a few yards away, here was a reminder that the green of spring really isn't that far off.

 

How long has this moss-covered bridge been here? Years? Decades?

http://www.flyaddict.com/gallery/data/500/medium/MossyTrunk.JPG]

 

The farther I travelled upstream, the more brook trout I found willing to jump on the dry. Even though these are wild fish that rarely see humans, I was able to use less stealth in my approach today and still hook a good number of fish -- especially if the water was broken and riffly. Most of the plunge pools were good for at least one brookie, but there were several runs that produced multiple hookups. I got the idea of shooting one such spot, but to make it more interesting, I wondered what the run looked like from the brookies' perspective.

 

The view upstream, from above. I took several fish in the placid water to the left up by the rock.

[img=

 

The same view, from below. This is what they mean by "gin clear."

http://www.flyaddict.com/gallery/data/500/medium/UpstreamUnder.JPG]

 

Downstream was likewise productive. Look at all those seams.

[img=

 

A view underwater reveals the structure that creates those seams -- not to mention several brookie hideouts and some subsuface fly-eating branches.

http://www.flyaddict.com/gallery/data/500/medium/DownstreamBelow.JPG]

 

It took me about two hours to cover the water I wanted to fish. And while I had plenty of action, there were numerous spots that just screamed out, "fishy!" that were oddly unproductive. Some of them were understandably so: deep plunge pools where I could picture dozens of fish parked on the bottom with plenty of food to sustain them. Others were far shallower -- maybe a foot or so deep. That's when I decided I would turn and fish the same stretch downstream, using a combination of small Woolly Buggers (copper beadhead black, size 12) and hybrid mini-bugger/wets (copper beadhead Hare's Ear, size 16). I attached a BB shot to the leader at the tie-in point of the fly, and the results were fantastic. I caught twice as many fish on the way down, most in spots where I didn't get a sniff an hour earlier. More often then not, the char rushed the fly the moment it hit the water. I would barely have finished removing the slack from the line and I'd feel blip-blip-blip-whack!

 

If you've seen one wild brookie, you've seen them all. Or not. Just look at those fins. Taken on the Hare's Ear mini-bugger.

[img=

 

I caught them in shallow runs, and in deep havens like this. The view is from my catbird's seat 20 feet above the water. Imagine Niedermeyer from Animal House screaming, "A plunge pool!?! On your brook trout stream?!?"

http://www.flyaddict.com/gallery/data/500/medium/PlungePool.JPG]

 

They're already playing Christmas music on the radio. I think someone needs to write a song about walking in a pre-winter wonderland.

 

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AWESOME! Just AWESOME!

 

This was a great post. and I have to agree - there may be, no, I dont believe there is a more beautiful fish than a native brookie. Amazing little creatures!

 

Thank you for a post that refreshed my day!

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Kind words, gents. Thank you.

 

Ian: no pic, but I can give you the pattern and it will be an easy intuitive tie for you.

 

Hare's Ear Mini Bugger/Wet

Thread: Orange

Hook: TMC 5263 sz 12-16 (2x strong, 3x long)

Bead: Copper, to size

Underweight/bead seat: .010 lead wire to desired weight

Tail: 3 strands Krystal flash (I like gold or green) under a bunch of guard hairs from a hare's mask, hook shank length

Body: Rough dubbed hare's ear, xsmall copper wire rib, palmered over with soft brown hen hackle

 

Does that make sense?

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Nice report lad - glad you're enjoying going down as well as up!

 

Jonny

 

A double entendre or a low blow? ;-)

 

 

Jon

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A double entendre or a low blow? ;-)

Jon

 

The double entendre was happy coincidence, but neither were on my mind. Steve and I talk tactics often. We wax about our theoretical preferences for downstream or up on invisible trout streams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A double entendre or a low blow? ;-)

Jon

 

The double entendre was happy coincidence, but neither were on my mind. Steve and I talk tactics often. We wax about our theoretical preferences for downstream or up on invisible trout streams.

 

Jonny,

Just breaking bollocks.

JC

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