Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Clouds follow from creek to creek



I noticed some clouds the other day that did not scare me but rather got me thinking about cloud-watching when I was a kid.
My sister and I would pick out little critters, pointing to a dog or pig we spotted in the puffy clouds.
Lately, all anybody could see was ominous dark storm clouds rolling over the mountains like an advancing army. It has rained on my personal fly fishing parade just about every time I venture to the creek, though most of the time it would stop long enough for me to get a little dry fly angling in for the day.
A couple of Sundays ago, I drove through a steady shower to the river near our cabin, for I knew if it got really bad I could still fish some from under the bridge until it got too dark to see the fly on the water.
When I got there, the sulphur mayflies were hatching and the trout were rising. Gulp, gulp, gulp.
But even with the steady rises and the constant flutter of mayflies over the water’s surface, I was having a tough time getting one to hit my fly.
I caught one of the bugs with my hat, looked close and figured I had the correct fly tied on to the tippet. If they won’t hit this little yellow fly, they won’t hit anything.
I tossed the fly out into the current where I just knew there had to be a trout lurking, and the fly just kept going down the river unmolested.
In fact, the fly actually floated by one or two as they came up for the real bug.
The trout came up out of the water once, nudged the fly out of the way and then disappeared into the depths. He did that three times, with my issuing forth colorful fly fishing oaths with each teasing miss.
Birds sang, even with the rain steadily peppering the water. And the bugs kept on hatching. It began to get a little dark and I figured I must might get skunked before going home.
I felt something tug.
But I wasn’t quick enough, and as soon as I felt a fish I lost him.
Dang.
I flipped the fly out again, let it bob a little in the current, got a drag-free float in the feeding lane I was aiming for and ... BANG, gotcha.
I knew it was a good sized brown for, after all, he had poked his big ole head out of the water three times earlier.
I brought him in quickly. The rain peppered harder. The sky got darker.
That night I listened to the neighbors’ dogs howl and the birds sing in celebration of another hot, humid summer’s arrival. It was a good, deep sleep that night.
The next day I dodged the clouds some more, hitting my favorite pools downstream with phenomenal success.
There was a little white caddis hatch and the trout were having another buffet dinner right in the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes it happens at dusk, sometimes at lunch and sometimes it just doesn’t happen at all.
I was in luck. It happened three times within the week. I caught 17 trout, mostly rainbows, the first time. Then, the next day I caught fish until I got tired of the ease of it all. Fly fishing for trout is not supposed to be this easy, so I got back into the troutmobile, headed downstream fore more of a challenge and promptly caught nothing but air.
The next day I returned to the bridge pool and caught 15 more trout, but this time I took a closer look at these fish and noticed that they all looked to be the same size. They even had the same pale, just out of the hatchery look of fish that had just been dumped into the water.
The hatchery truck, though, was not supposed to dump trout up this far. It must have been some Buddy’s pet fish he keeps nearby for his mom to catch. He stocks his little stretch of the river, mostly because momma likes to eat trout.
I, on the other hand, just like to catch them. And I did .. until I actually got tired of it.
Today there should be no angry clouds overhead threatening to unleash a fury of torrential rain. I noticed while driving Friday that some of those mean clouds started to look like cute little animals. There was a little poodle’s head, an elephant, a pig and a ... whoa, that one’s a trout.
That was the first time I ever saw a cloud shaped like a big brown trout, and I took it as a good omen for the weekend.
It was a sky full of frendly clouds.

2 comments:

Cutthroat Stalker said...

Hugh,

Funny how we want to catch fish and then when we do nothing but catch them, we get sick of it--weird lot, we are.

What were the distinguishing features of the trout cloud that you could identify it as a "brown" instead of some other trout (possibly even a char)? ;-)

-scott c

Hugh Koontz said...

Yeah,Scott, it got weird but then again they were stockers.
The cloud, I guess, could have been a big brookie (char) or perhaps a salmon, though we don't have many of them here. The cloud just resembled a couple of big browns with hooked jaws (that was the distinction).
It just had to be a brown.