Conditions were great. Clear, warm, and calm. When I got to the river there were loads of caddis flying just above the surface and none on the water. Trout rose here and there up and down the pool leaving large swirls in their wake. Classic caddis emerger feeding behavior.
The water was clear and flat, so I tied on a 20 inch length of 6X tippet. Normally, I would use 5X, but experience told me that might lower my success rate. To the end of the tippet I tied a #15 Iris Caddis, almost a sure thing when conditions and caddis are like they were tonight.
I waded out just above and across from where several trout were holding 6 inches or so below the surface. They were taking turns it seemed, grabbing the helpless emerging caddis pupa that drifted just below the meniscus. After making a test cast or two, I dropped my fly a few feet upstream of the waiting trout and fed out line to permit the fly to drift into the feeding fish. On the third or forth drift, bingo, a trout rose and quickly grabbed my fly. After a few minutes I had the foot long brown trout in my hand and released the fly from its jaw before letting it swim away.
After catching another couple of fish, I changed my tippet to a fresh piece and then tied the same Iris Caddis I had been using back on the end. I stood in the cool water for a few minutes resting the water and listening to a male cardinal in the chesnut tree across the river sing like he was the headliner at Lincoln Center. In the field beyond, I could also hear the cows as they left the barn from the days final milking.
As I was daydreaming, my trance was broken by an aggressive take about 25 feet directly across from me. I worked out my line and dropped my fly above the spot the fish had just taken a natural. My fly drifted maybe a foot before being engulfed by a fish. I tightened my line and was fast to a nice fish that took off downstream. It was a nice fish, a very nice fish. And after a good 5 minutes I had her in front of me ready to be freed of my fly to swim away. Here she is, a big hen rainbow trout. I didn't measure her, perferring to just grab my fly and back it out without removing the fish from the water. I would guess she was 22-24 inches long and between 5-6 pounds. I don't know if you can tell how big it was from the picture, but I took the photo quick so I could get her off my line and back to her lair.
I took one more brown after that and then called it a night.
Life is good. Stop what you're doing and go fishing.