I got out for a couple hours Sunday morning and hit a caddis hatch just right. The flies were a charcoal gray color, about a size 18. I think this is what folks around here call the “black caddis” hatch. Surprisingly, the fish weren’t interested in the darker caddis patterns I tried, but when I went to a gray bodied fly with tannish deer hair, the fun began. I fished just one fairly shallow run in Bohemian Valley Creek, and caught well over a dozen fish, most 11” or 12,” which is on average larger than what I’m used to on this creek, and one that was at least 13,” although I was concerned about reviving him so let him loose before actually measuring him.
That last fish had to be the strongest trout per inch I’ve ever caught. Took line off my reel upstream half a dozen times, so often that I thought I had foul hooked him in the tail or something. (I was using 6x tippet at the end of my 4 weight rod, so I pretty much let him go where he wanted before reeling him back in.) But then he turned around like a steelhead and flew right by me and went downstream about 30 feet. Never had a brown do that before. Me and my sore knees turned around as fast as we could and gave chase.
It’s very difficult to pull a fish of that strength back upstream against swift current with light tackle, so I did the best I could just keeping him at bay as I walked downstream regaining my line. Eventually the brown burrowed into some weeds under the bank, and I could see just the tip of his nose sticking out of that salad. I think he thought he might have been safe, if trout have thoughts like that. Anyway, I just walked over and netted the weeds and him all in one fell swoop and I had him. I did get a picture of him in my net, and I can measure the opening to get a good idea of how big he was. Took a while to revive him, but once I did he moved off upstream slowly and took refuge from the current behind a bigger rock.
Gotta say that those two hours of dry fly fishing were the most exciting in years. I usually resort to nymph fishing—how often do you hit a hatch just right when your fishing schedule is dictated by your family and your day job? I’ve been fishing four times this year, with (much) better than average results each time. I almost feel like I should quit while I’m ahead… but we all know that ain’t gonna happen.