Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fishing "non-trout" water

Doc and I took a day off on December 23rd to try to get one more trip in before the end of the year.  We had plenty of options, but we decided to take this opportunity to try to fish some different water.  In particular, we were looking at a tailwater in N.C. that is not designated trout water and does not receive stocking.  Hours of preliminary research resulted in very little information.
We got to the river around lunch time, and the water was extremely high - too high to fish.  We drove around looking for feeder creeks, and found one.  We decided the feeder creek we found deserves a full day of fishing, or even a camping trip, so we went back to the tailwater and waited for the water to go down.  Around 2:00, the water finally started to drop, and what we saw was promising: a beautiful river ideal for trout.  We were running out of time and we both were doubtful that we would catch any fish, and if we didn't, we still wouldn't know for sure if trout were living in this tailwater.  I moved upstream just a few feet to a nice run and tied on a very large tungsten prince.  I thought I felt a few bites, but I wasn't sure if I was hitting rocks.  The water was now pretty low, and then it happened: confirmation! I hooked and landed a beautiful wild rainbow (pictured above).  Unfortunately, the fish swallowed the hook and it was bleeding. For the first time since I started fly fishing, I was forced to keep a fish.  This was a research trip, so keeping a fish was not a bad thing.  The fish had a huge row of eggs and her stomach was full of caddis - another good sign!  I missed a few more fish, as did Doc, and then it was time to go.  Needless-to-say, we'll be back to this non-trout tailwater!