Watching, Waiting, Hoping......

Watching, waiting, hoping.  That's what I've been doing for the last month or so.  A few bugs, drifting aimlessly on the surface of the water would make my day.  Patience is a necessity.  At the mercy of bugs with no schedule, I'm on Baetis standard time, whatever that is.  So, I wait.

The days start earlier now, last longer too.  It makes no difference to the bugs, or the fish.  I leave home earlier, thinking maybe, just maybe this will be the day.  A fish feeding frenzy, right from the get go.  Heaven forbid I should miss it.  No worries, I don't.  Nothing doing.  All quiet on the stream front.

But there is activity.  Rainbows are in the creek now.  They chase each other, jockeying for position on the gravels.  Across the creek, a fisherman ambles through the grass, working upstream, alternately in and out of the water.  It's a mink.  Stealthy.  Doesn't seem to bother the spawning rainbows.  They continue their business, the mink continues hiking and swimming upstream.

It's a gray morning.  Perfect supposedly.  Little wind.  Bird sounds along the creek.  Robins, ducks, geese.  Meanwhile, the valley is greening up, the snowline is retreating up the mountain slopes. The Absarokas look cold though.  Camping season is still a ways off.

I take a walk, find feathers.  Mr robin should have been looking over his shoulder when he was singing.  I ponder the wing feathers and pocket a few for potential fly tying material.

Around ten, a few rises.  They eat the midge.  A few eat the parachute too.  Mostly smaller fish, ten, twelve inches.

A short cast to a barely perceptible dimple.  Probably just a little one I think.  Stung by the hook, the fish promptly liberates forty feet of line.  I get it back.  We negotiate the last fourteen feet of leader.   The fish gives a little, I give some back.  The negotiations continue.  We compromise. A couple of leader knots bink through the rod tip and I slide the net under the parachute eating brown. 

"Well now, you sly dog (or should I say, fish?), trying to imitate a little one, just to go unnoticed."

I move on.  Around noon, more rises.  Enthusiastic this time.  Somethings got their attention. A few errant blue winged olives drift by.  I switch to a comparadun, run an emerger off the back. Its not a big hatch, but a few fish dine on my offerings. 

I watch a substantial brown at work.  Tough spot.  I cast, get a short drift.  No dice.  I don't want to wade in behind it for fear of spooking other nearer rising fish.  A downstream drift is out too. I ponder his location, and file it away as a presentation challenge to be solved later.  Meanwhile, closer rises keep me busy, ten, fifteen feet.  Nice fish all.  Browns and rainbows.  I expect the browns, the rainbows are a bit of a surprise.  A few come to net.  Beat up, chewed up, maybe these active surface feeders have completed spawning.

The fish knock off around 1:30.  Me too.  Lunchtime. 

I let an hour slip away.  Satoshi wanders by.  We visit.  Compare notes.  Do a little plotting and scheming.  Soon its late afternoon.

One more walkabout just to see if anything is happening.  It's breezy.  If there are any bugs, they've been blown off the water.  No matter, it's been a productive day.

Its nearly spring.  The fish are starting to look up.  We're on the cusp of another season of dries. 


Bill Trussell said…
Oh the ups and down of matching the pattern to the hatch---I spent Wednesday trying to match a midge hatch off and on most of the afternoon. I finally found the magic dry in the form of the Griffith Gnat. Have you tried the Gant when the midge hatch happens?
Colorful trout and awesome looking stream----Enjoyed the post!
Lester Kish said…
The Griffiths is an old go to, standby pattern. Sorry to say, its one that I don't go to. I usually use some sort of pupa imitation, or a form of the transitional midge, tied with CDC or poly yarn. I usually trail it off of a small parachute, with or without a tail. An imaginative fish could mistake the parachute for a small midge cluster.

Thanks Bill, and keep after those midge eaters! It's great fun when you get 'em.
rivertoprambles said…
Your spring season is well ahead of its counterpart here in upstate NY. The robins and blackbirds just blew in overnight; the first coltsfoot blossom appeared; the spotted salamanders mated, and, until today, the trout have been reluctant to move about for food. Now the black stoneflies are getting busy. Checking out your MT spring creek action, I'm happy for you and for getting a little preview of my own coming season. So, all the best,and thanks for the share.
Jim said…
Yes! Some of us always yearn for what's on the other side. In my case, the other side of the mountains, a couple big ranges worth. Ah, to be in Paradise Valley. The bugs will be there. Thanks for bringing spring a bit closer.
Lester Kish said…
March has been pretty nice here so far. You mentioned "peenting" woodcock in your most recent blog post. Now that's something that I haven't encountered in decades.

I neglected to mention that I did see the first bluebird of the year the other day.

Thanks and best to you as well Walt, and catch a steelhead for me too.
Lester Kish said…
Now Jim, you've already had some productive "midging" reports that have left me envious. But, I do understand the "greener grass" phenomenon.

If we could only get a little more overcast and do something about that blasted wind and, while we're wishing, have the bugs come off in droves and the fish feed like it's the "last supper".....
Anonymous said…
Les: Nice early season outing...rewarded for being patient. I like the impressive tie on the olive comparadun. I'm still waiting for some bugs.
Lester Kish said…
Hi Bob, like you, I don't mind the wait, especially if the occasional fish wants to cooperate. I saw the comparadun style pattern on the Bighorn Angler website. They call it the BWO sipper. Seems like overkill to mix CDC and deer hair for a wing, but it does look pretty nice. They use a scud hook, I prefer an emerger hook due to its wider gape. Now, If I could only make the bare part of the hook invisible.....

Hopefully you'll get you're "day in the sun" on the MO soon.
Anonymous said…
Les; When it comes to hooks I also like wider gap on small flies, 18's and 20's, etc...I believe just a better hook up percentage and probably more likely that hook holds...I think. Yes, CDC with deer hair (wing), might be over kill but does look great. I've been re-reading Tying Small Flies by Ed Engle...real simple patterns , easy to tie, quick ties.
Lester Kish said…
Bob, thanks for the tip on the tying book. Speaking of re-reads, I think it's time to revisit Spring Creek by Nick Lyons. Lots of great stuff there. Thanks for that tip too.