The swung fly has become the hip thing to do in some steelhead circles these days but I will take this opportunity to suggest that it is also a very, very deadly approach to spring creek brown trout fishing. If you ever tire of bobbers and lead and there isn't enough surface activity to warrant the Halfordian approach...tie on a brace of size 16 soft hackles and swing through. You may be surprised.
The cardinals sang and the midges flew, the sun rose and the morning clouds burned off as I took 2/3 swings per step through all the choice water and even some marginal water. The browns were awake and looking up and they plucked away at my Hungarian partridge wrapped iron. A few came up short, but more than my share stuck. Nothing big, nothing worthy of a real grip and grin, but the catching was hot and the fish continued to peel off their feeding lanes to have a taste.
After fishing my favorite caddis riffle (without ever seeing even a single caddis...or caring) I noticed a fish rising on the outside of a deep slow bend. Telltale ripples exposed his position every 10-20 seconds as it tilted up for a midge struggling to dry itself before flight. Leaning my 4 wt. against a box elder tree, I got down in the dirt and dry grass and slithered to the edge of the bank for a closer look. Less than ten feet away I could make out the spots of a healthy brown trout, high in the water column, having breakfast...or brunch perhaps. Making myself as comfortable as possible as the blood rushed downhill into my head I watched and snapped pictures for the better part of an hour. The sun was completely wrong and the light reflection was brutal, but I had front row seats and enjoyed the show until the fish spooked and disappeared...sunlight glinting off the lens perhaps?
I checked my watch and saw that mid-day was fast approaching so I made for my vehicle in order to make my an appointment with my daughter and her soccer team. I made it to the appointment and even had enough extra time to stop at a local coffee house to bring my wife a small token of my appreciation for mornings like these. I should confess that as I headed for the vehicle I couldn't help but stop at my favorite caddis riffle and work through it one last time just to cement my satiation. The fish were still eager and a few larger ones came out to interrupt the easy rhythms of my soft hackle swinging through...Just like Sylvester Nemes suggested they might.
|The day about to unfold.|
|That's gotta suck.|
|Soft hackle brunch|
|Average brown for the morning|
|A quick pic before release|
|Midge on the menu|
|The finest background music|