Stillwater Sweetness

I was planning to spend Thursday evening on the river, but thunderstorms once again threatened to disrupt my fishing. As 4:00 pm approached, I stared out the window at my desk, watching the wind pick up and clouds roll in. The forecast was calling for a 60% chance and it certainly looked like a storm was in the making, but I decided to take my chances anyway as I left work and headed north in rush hour traffic.

I was hoping to do some stillwater fishing for a change and when I arrived there was only a single person on the water. The winds had picked up again and the sky was still looking grim. By the time I geared up, the sole angler had paddled in and was headed home. He mentioned the fishing was slow and considering the current weather conditions, I was headed out with fairly low expectations. I paddled to the far side of the pond, set the anchor and tied on a tandem rig: a leech pattern and nymph. When I looked up, ready to take my first cast, I realized the wind had dislodged the anchor and pushed me to the opposite side of the pond. This happened twice more in the next few minutes, before my luck changed for the better.

With 3.5 hours left to fish, the skies started to open up and the winds calmed. Fish were starting to become active and it wasn’t long before I hooked into my first Rainbow of the night.

My first Rainbow Trout of the evening, took a good old Pheasant Tail nymph.

My first Rainbow Trout of the evening, took a good old Pheasant Tail nymph.

I’d forgotten how much of a bend these fish put in a 6 weight rod. This large acrobatic trout put up quite a fight before finally giving in. The action was fairly steady for the rest of the night, with several fish lost and several more caught. Either I was having a really good night, or the fish are bigger this year, because I didn’t catch many fish under 18″.

Another thick bodied rainbow trout that fell victim to the Pheasant Tail.

Another thick bodied rainbow trout that fell victim to the Pheasant Tail.

As the daylight grew shorter, surface activity picked up and despite my success I decided to try my luck with dries.  I noticed a few of these on the water, so I tied on a basic imitation:

Fish seemed to be picking off a bunch of Callibaetis mayflies like this on the surface.

Fish seemed to be picking off a bunch of Callibaetis mayflies like this on the surface.

Aside from Rainbows, there are also Brook Trout in this pond which I believe were mainly feeding on the mayflies. After a few minutes and several missed hits on the dry fly, I figured I’d double my chances and change to a Dry Dropper. When fishing dries on stillwater, I tend to have more confidence in something that floats extremely well and lets me twitch it without having to worry about it constantly drowning. I had tied a fairly humongous extended foam bodied mayfly a couple weeks ago and figured it might entice some of the larger rainbows to hit, while targeting the Brookies with a wet fly dropper.

The first Rainbow Trout taken on the indicator portion of my rig: a large foam dry fly.

The first Rainbow Trout taken on the indicator portion of my rig: a large foam dry fly.

This worked as planned and several hungry Rainbows made short work of the large dry fly as it twitched on the surface. I snapped the following underwater shot with my new camera as I was releasing one:

Underwater shot taken before releasing a Rainbow Trout.

Underwater shot taken before releasing a Rainbow Trout.

It was difficult to pull myself off the water as the surface action continued to pick up with the fading light. The Brook Trout were especially active at the end of the night and I hooked a few on the trailing Leadwing Coachman while making my way in. I also managed to lose a couple much larger Brookies as my hook popped out while horsing them in.

One of a few Brookies caught before calling it a night.

One of a few Brookies caught before calling it a night.

Overall, it turned out to be an unexpectedly great few hours on the water.

6 thoughts on “Stillwater Sweetness

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