After leaving the Missouri’s 30 mph winds behind (it was already blowing up big time on Monday morning), we headed for a small stream (headwaters of a much bigger river, actually) that [Name Redacted] used to fish all the time, but hadn’t touched in years.
The problem? Few trout. Why? We can guess, but…
But First, This Commercial Announcement
Wanted to thank the folks at Headhunters in Craig for the help with the Underground’s shiny new (RIO Outbound) streamer line. If you haven’t been there, it’s a funky little shop that features helpful people inside and an old surfboard outside.
I fish streamers more than most, but had never progressed beyond flinging them with standard fly lines.
[Name redacted] – a self-admitted leader and line geek – suggested I was (in relatively kind terms) an idiot, and that something more specialized was called for.
The Headhunter folks knew just the line needed to make me current (the new Rio Outbound has earned raves from lots of folks), and though this is clearly a budget trip (see meal info below), one is now wrapped around my old Galvan “classic” reel, waiting for today’s trip to…
But First, Food
Even fly fishermen have gotta eat, but instead of staple “health” foods like Fig Newtons or Spaghetti-Os, [name redacted] steered us towards…
The Pork Chop Sandwich.
I envisioned a real pork chop on a bun, but in what amounted to a concession to the rising cost of Real Meat, this particular pork chop sandwich was composed of some kind of Compressed Pork Meat Product.
In keeping with the Underground’s mission (to Seek Out Local Foods Which Don’t Contain Even a Hint Of Wheatgrass Juice), we found these bad boys at Pork Chop John’s in Butte, though later we were assured that real pork chop sandwiches were available somewhere else in the Butte area.
Helpful Hint From Those Who Know: Do not – under any circumstances – attempt to consume two Pork Chop Sandwiches even though the first one goes down very easy.
You’ve been warned.
Finally, Fly Fishing
This particular of stretch of stream suffered from heavy metals poisoning (runoff from Butte’s extensive mining operations), and people weren’t fishing it much in recent years.
We stopped by for a visit, and I immediately fell in love with the place, though – if you weren’t a competent caster – it wouldn’t make your Top 10 list.
That’s because it’s basically a stick factory; the banks are lined with willows, and almost every inch of desirable bank is festooned with leader-eating sticks, branches and deadfall.
Great cover for brown trout, but not exactly an intelligent first stop for newbie fly fishers.
I fished my trusty old 8′ Phillipson 5wt impregnated rod, which might have been designed expressly for this kind of water.
Plus, I’ve been fishing little stuff all year long (for the record, I didn’t consider this a little stream – more a medium-sized stream), so the cast came back pretty quickly.
Sadly, the fishing reflected the stream’s difficulties; we had a few encouraging grabs on hoppers and an October Caddis right away, but the action quickly fell off to a pretty slow pace, though the brown trout we did catch were a bit bigger than you’d expect.
[name redacted] quickly lost one that could have run upwards of 16″, and I moved one to a hopper (twice) that was an easy 14″-15″, but the bite was slow.
We fished way, way too much “perfect” trout water that should have delivered a bite, but didn’t.
It was a little eerie, and you’re left to wonder if you didn’t dial it in, or if – as the locals suggested – the populations simply weren’t there.
Still, some fish were caught (I landed four; [name redacted] landed a half dozen or so):
You’d be a fool to write off a pretty little trout stream because of a few rumors and one sorta slow outing, especially since fewer brown trout often means bigger brown trout (which looked to be true in this case).
And there are also these rumors of 20″+ brown trout caught earlier in the year, which you ignore at your own peril.
In any case, it was pure, hands-on-knees, tangled-in-willows, once-in-a-lifetime-cast-after-once-in-a-lifetime-cast… fun.
Clearly, I’m not past this small stream thing.
Today’s Fishing Adventure
Today we’re heading for a pond rumored to hold double-digit (pounds, not inches) trout – one of those flat, open places that doesn’t look like much – and turns messy when the wind comes up (as is forecast) – but offers a shot at some seriously big fish.
Tomorrow? Perhaps Georgetown Lake, which is clearly not a secret in the fly fishing world, but does offer hope of a Big Brook Trout (The Official Big Char of The Trout Underground).
See you on the pond, Tom Chandler.