March 30

That a size twenty-two hook can hold a fish is remarkable.  How does such a small hook stick to the corner of the fish's mouth or tip of its snout?  Even more remarkable is that 7X tippet can hold up against the frantic stop and go runs of a fish.  And then, perhaps the biggest miracle of all is being able to attach the barely visible leader to said fly.

Today would be heavenly.  Seventy degrees.  In March. And for once, the wind was not commensurate with the temperature.

Fish were dimpling.  But not taking on the surface.  Close though, a tail or back would show. Today, something small, suspended barely, would be the ticket.  

With a long leader, I need some sort of indicator fly to clue me in on the location of the main fly.  Something small, with a dab of fluorescence for a post works ok.  Sometimes the fish eat it too, but usually its the dropper that they take.

The morning was most productive.  Browns.  Rainbows.  A few cutthroats too.  Sometimes they like what you're serving, or how its being served.

The midge pupa worked today.  Thank you to Rene Harrop and the CDC pupa.

Once, a rather large rainbow took up a position, less than a rod length away.  I watched as it moved side to side, picking off feed.  Occasionally it would rise, barely breaking the surface.  It was too close for a cast.  So, I drew in my fly line.  That left only leader outside of the guides.  I dropped the fly near my feet and let it drift towards the fish.  When the top fly was near the fish it moved slightly and opened its mouth.  A raise of the rod confirmed the eat.

By one-thirty it was break time.  I'd been on the water since eight. It was time for a sandwich. Then a nice stretch and a nap.  After that, a walkabout with only camera in hand.

Even though fish continued to rise throughout the day, the catching was a bit tougher by late afternoon.  But, as the shadows fell, the best was saved for last.  This brown had a bagful of tricks.  A sudden downstream run.  Quick, swap ends and swim upstream as fast as possible. Then, the old dart under the log trick.  He tried it three times.  I didn't let him get away with it. I applied as much pressure as I dared and turned him each time.  The 7X held.

I stayed late.  Not so much for the fishing, but for the sunset.  I wanted to squeeze as much out of the day as possible.

Few days are so perfect.

Fish and fishing.

Sunshine and warmth.


Rising fish.  Sometimes even, willing fish.

It was, unequivocally, the best March 30 of my life.


  1. Lester
    This post had me from the beginning to the end. Fishermen have very few days that they can call their best, and this day had to be yours. I had one of those days last year on our tailrace, and I don’t think I will ever encounter that kind of action again. It seems you could do no wrong on this day. Thanks for sharing some fantastic images; the old road with the mountain background should be framed.
    P.S. How far do you normally tie your dropper fly from your indicator fly, I assume most of the takes were on the dropper. What weight fly rod were you using?

    1. Bill, so glad you enjoyed the post and images. It was a great day all around, not just for the fishing. Heck, even the nap was timely, and the old back sure appreciated it. Given your recent post, I think you might relate.

      I toy with dropper length constantly. It varies from eight to eighteen inches or so. Eighteen might be too long and I wonder if the fish can spit the fly without my knowing. Eight doesn't leave much room for stretch and I wonder if it breaks more easily. Regardless, eighteen turns into eight after a few fly changes (or losses).

      The rod is a Cabelas CZN. It's a three weight, nine and a half feet. Nice and light in the hand. They promote it for nymphing, I like it for this close in midge fishing. And oh yes, a double taper fly line.

  2. Beautiful day there, Les, you did it right. Am also enjoying excellent fishing weather in the Blue Ridge (VA) right now. Your spring creek quest reminds me of a friend who challenges himself to catch a wild brown on the tiniest of fly and tippet, #32 with a 9X. Sounds crazy to me, especially when you can catch that fish with a #24 and a 7X, but what the hell, the point is having fun, I guess.

    1. Caught me sitting at the computer Walt. Happy to hear that you're finally getting some nice weather. I'll look forward to a post from the Blue Ridge country.

      Crazy, why yes. But a size #32? Even the fish need readers to see those.

  3. Les:
    I was out of town on tme Missouri. I see you were engaged in the same type of fishing...small flies, light tippet, rising fish or just subsurface. Probably your water even more technical than what i was fishing. You did well. Like that pic of big brown head in net. It is amazing that such small flies can land such fish. What i like about small flies is generally less damage to the trout in comparison to larger hook. And often the tiny hook is just inside rim of mouth so easy to release, not inhaled; also no huge puncture. So a little less what can be a damaging sport. I think one day I'll tie flies with no actual hook and the sport will be simply to dupe them; the rise and fight. Thanks for the recent comment on my blog.

    1. Hi Bob, I see that you were up on the MO. Some nice fish posted on your blog. I agree with you that smaller hooks are less damaging. And, they sure can stick in spite of their small size. The rise is good, but even a little pull on the line once in awhile is good for the morale.

  4. Great post Les..perfect day for you..this morning temps are in the teen's and twenties..hopefully this cold weather will break soon, the snow and ice will melt and I can get out and join you..

    1. Thanks Mike. I ran into a couple of "Easterners' yesterday while fishing the creek. One from Maine, the other from New Hampshire. Some folks will go to any length to escape to more forgiving fishing conditions. Unfortunately for them, yesterday was the first decent day that they had in a week. But, it was really nice once it warmed up.


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