With only a couple hours to fish and the meter running, I committed blogger suicide; I headed for an unremarkable stream filled with mostly unremarkable fish (at least in terms of braggability). In the fall — when everyone’s intent on mining the Upper Sac and McCloud for big trout on October Caddis — the little streams are largely deserted.
For the fly fishing misanthrope, it’s perfect. In fact, I view this particular stream as a kind of over-the-counter outdoor remedy for everyday life; fly fishing’s equivalent of “take two aspirin and call me if it gets worse.”
Maybe a dozen small trout later, I was feeling better (though sore from all the brush busting). Thanks, doc.
Fall & Gear
We’ve enjoyed a nice stretch of 70-degree days sandwiched between sub-freezing nights, the kind of weather that surprises a lot of anglers driving up from the warmer parts of the state. They expect the same warm nights they’re getting at home, and many find themselves walking into the Ted Fay Fly Shop with credit card in hard, helping make the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket one of Bob Grace’s best-sellers.
The local economy thanks you.
This particular small stream fishes a little tougher in the fall; the water is low (especially after one of the worst snowpacks on record) and the leaves are disappearing from the trees, so a lazy, slightly sleep-deprived, two-legged predator has even fewer places to hide.
I found myself fishing a #18 Adams (which drew noticeably more strikes than the #16), and still experienced zero strikes on some of the better pools, suggesting I was doing a better job spooking trout instead of appealing to their greedy side.
At least I avoided my prior “Where’s my fly rod” meltdown; the 8′ 5wt Diamondglass was right on top (where I’d left it). It’s an almost seductively smooth rod, though not one you necessarily want in your hand when the wind takes off down the mini-canyon you’re fishing, which happened today.
There’s not much you can do about nature, but after fishing in some form or another since the early 1970s, you’d think I’d avoid most of the self-inflicted stupidities. Sadly, I’m just not there yet.
This time I couldn’t delay fishing long enough to straighten out the curled leader butt section, so while my casts were working, the leader kept straightening and then recoiling like a spring. The result was a lot of first casts where the fly fell well short, and if it’s something you need to get right on a stream this small, it’s the first cast.
Next time, would somebody remind me? Thanks.
Still Too Much Happening
In just a little more than two weeks, this stream — and all the others in the area — will close to fishing, and I’ll get one more reminder that the world is spinning a little faster than it used to. Where did the summer go?
In any case, the usual fall mashup of events is in full swing; it’s raining intermittently today — the kind of rain that can really turn on the fish.
In other word, big trout beckon.
Also beckoning is the utter embarrassment I’ll suffer if I don’t get some shooting practice in prior to next Sunday’s sporting clays charity shoot (if you own a shotgun and hold a deep hatred of clay targets, come out — it’s for a good cause).
It’s likely I live in a constant state of embarrassment (a fact which explains most of high school), and you think I’d be used to it. But find I’m averse to completely biffing it on the sporting clays front, so I may trade fishing time for practice.
In other words, the big fish will have to wait.
See you on the range, Tom Chandler.