Well, so far I'm keeping up with my goal to get out and fish every month. I spent a couple hours out fishing today and had much better luck compared to last month. Rather than drive to my usual favorite streams in the mountains, which are probably still mostly frozen over and running pretty cold right now, I decided to try out a clear water canal about 20 min from my home.
The canal is stocked with rainbow trout during winter. The water in the canal gets a bit too warm in the summer for trout, so I doubt I'll fish there once the mountain streams thaw out. Most of the fish in the canal are the usual "stocker" sized trout (8" to 10"), but I've been told that you can find the occasional hold-over from the previous winter.
This canal runs almost perfectly clear water. The water clarity combined natural and human predation helps make these trout somewhat spooky. I scared off several fish as I walked along the canal looking for a good spot to fish. I finally found a pod of about 10 fish sitting in a deep pocket. A couple of them bolted, but didn't go too far. I walked back down stream a little ways, sat down, and rigged up my fly rod. After about 15 minutes, I cautiously crept back up towards the hole. This time I didn't spook them too badly, at least until I started casting. The wind made it a bit tricky to get an accurate cast, but I managed to get a couple of good drifts through the hole. A very subtle take on my hare's ear nymph and after a few good jumps and attempted runs, a little trout was brought to hand.
A couple more drifts and more success. This one was bigger than the first and even though it didn't jump, it gave a good fight. I didn't expect much out of these stocked rainbows, but they put up a pretty good fight. It was a lot of fun catching this guy on my 3wt. It will be fun to finish up my 2wt rods and try them out. Maybe I should start looking into a 1wt or 0wt rod, too?
Normally I have my nymph tied on as a dropper from a dry fly. I sue my dry fly as a strike indicator and if it pauses or moves in anyway (other than its normal drift downstream), I set the hook. This time however, the dry fly just continued to drift along. However, I saw a flash under the water about where I thought my nymph would be. I set the hook and enjoyed a beautiful rainbow.
I managed to catch four fish out of that hole. There were several big fish in there, but they weren't interested in what I had to offer. I'm guessing they didn't get to be so big by being dumb. My fourth fish was one probably the nicest one I caught today.
I usually release all the fish I catch, but I decided to take this one home for lunch. A little garlic powder on the inside and lots of butter -- a nice trout for lunch.