Yesterday was another of those days that gets etched in the memory drawer for all the right reasons. It started out on the cold side of the spring weather spectrum, but the skies were bright with sunshine and the lack of a canopy over our heads made for a pleasant day on the water. We fished a PA stream, and after getting set up at the car and walking up river some distance through the quickly greening underbrush, I found Doug plying a nice riffle with nymphs. His mom sitting across the river from him watching intently, smiling at her son's success, and enjoying the calm and quiet that only nature can bestow. He had been there for a couple of hours and was already having a good morning; excitedly telling me he was 7 for 12 - twelve hooked, seven landed!
Doug showed me the flies he had success with and how he fished them. Using a fairly short, level leader with two bead head flies and some split shot above them, he guided the flies through the riffles, runs and deep pockets. He said the bright green bead head caddis pupa had produced the best to that point. All of the trout were wild browns, and upon being hooked, many launched themselves out of the water which accounted for some of the hooked but not landed fish. Neither Doug or I get too excited about loosing fish, just hooking them is reward enough, as it means you chose and fished your flies right.
Then we both starting fishing, and began working our way downstream hop-scotching between pools, and it wasn't long before we started hooking fish. Doug continued to use his two nymph rig, and I fished a single LaFontaine sparkle emerger deep in the water column. The fishing wasn't fast and furious, but steady enough that we didn't change tactics as we worked our way down through the pools. There wasn't another fisherman within sight the entire morning.
We worked a lot of water, caught a bunch of fish, and then after seeing some fish rising in the slower runs and pools, we decided to switch to dry flies. That endeavor was less than glorious, as there were few fish rising, and many of them were one-and-done. I did manage a couple on a gray size 18 caribou caddis, and both us missed a few more before we decided it was time for a lunch break.
After lunch the hoped for hatch never materialized and rising trout were scarce, so we went back to nymphing the faster runs and riffles. And we got back to catching fish. Doug stuck with his bead head nymphs, and I switched to a brown, size 18 serendipity. I think the nymphs Doug was fishing were somewhat larger, sizes 12 and 14. The one he showed me was a dark frenchie style nymph without the bright band of dubbing behind the bead. He has a knack for fishing these flies properly, and at the end of the day he had the largest fish between us, this fat wild brown I had the pleasure of netting for him.