Saturday, October 27, 2012

Brook Trout Therapy

For the past three months I have been absolutely buried at work! I even cut my California trip in half due to my workload. I'm sure that my situation is not much different than many folks and this is a fishing blog, not a forum to whine about my lack of time on the stream.

When a break in my schedule coincided with a late-October forecast for near eighty degree temperatures, I knew it was time for a day trip! I was due too! I had not fished in my home state of West Virginia in almost five months. That might be acceptable over the long winter months, it is not acceptable during the summer/fall months.

A few months earlier I had been reviewing the topo maps of a stream I had fished on a few other occasions and I noticed there was quite a bit of water I had not touched. With that thought in mind, after I dropped the kids off at school, I was headed east with plans to explore deeper into that particular stream.

By about 10:00 AM I was wet wading (in late October) on a familiar stream. The leaves had already dropped so I had missed the peak of the fall foliage, but that wasn't the purpose of this trip. I hiked in along the trail-less stream to the point which I recognized as the deepest I had gone on previous trips.

The water was not cold and the flows were great for late October.

I tied on a fuzzy dry fly and started prospecting the small pockets. It wasn't long before I landed a long lost friend. He wasn't large but he was exactly what I needed - a native West Virginia brook trout.

Shortly after that little guy, I caught a slightly larger little brookie. Both were too young to be doing what they need to be doing in late October.

Then, I caught what I was looking for, a brookie in those wonderful fall colors!

I started to realize, with each advance into the unknown, that this was a special stream. What is a small stream of runs and riffles where I had fished previously, soon turned into a stream of nice pools and higher gradient.

With each pool (like the one above) came multiple brookies. The warm air/water temps and the post spawn made for very active fish. I was in for an amazing day on the stream!
By the time I made it to this large, deep plunge pool my stomach was telling me it was time to eat and I couldn't have picked a better place to have lunch on this day.

Before lunch, I spent a few minutes dissecting the hole. I fished the tail - right, center, then left. I fished the middle of the pool - right, center, then left. Finally; I fished the head of the pool - right, center, then left. This pool provided me with double digit (numbers) in beautiful little brookies!

After a quick lunch overlooking that wonderful pool, I pushed on into the unknown. As I moved upstream, it was more of the same - beautiful little brookies.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have caught so many fish that I just decided to walk along the stream and just observe the brookies. It has been a few years since this has happened in West Virginia.
What I noticed was 10-15 brook trout in nearly every pool. When I walked up on this couple, I decided to hind behind a tree and just observe.
It was very relaxing just sitting stream side and reflecting how lucky we are in West Virginia to have resources like this that can cleanse the soul when you are in need...and with the situation at work, I needed that therapy.
After observing the happy couple for a few minutes, I continued my trek upstream. It was nice to see several other couples and it was also nice to see the high number of brookies in this stream.
When I came upon this next large, deep pool I decided to dissect it just as I did the "lunch pool". 
The method was the same and the results were the same - double digit (numbers) brookies from one pool...a rare occurrence!

Finally, one last brookie from the pool and I was satisfied with my day on the stream.

I called it a day (fishing), and it was a very satisfying day, but I did walk a bit further upstream. Everyone always wonders what's around that next bend but eventually you need to turn for home.
I'm glad I decided to explore deeper into this stream. I can't remember the last day I had like this on a West Virginia brookie stream. Numbers, size, and colors - it would be hard to beat!
I felt very refreshed! Exploring and brook trout - GREAT THERAPY!


Wolfy said...

Great photos and story - love the pictures from above the fish!

Larry Bourgeois said...

What a beautiful day outdoors. Those Brookies are so awesome in their spawning colors eh. Thanks for sharing your splendid day with us. Sure takes you a l-o-n-g way from work stuff eh. :) lb

Flybum said...

We need to connect in the fall sometime so that I can follow behind you and just photograph what I consider to be one of the most beautiful fish around! It's been a long time since that less than stellar trip into the Shenandoah.