by Phillip Dobson
This snow was horrible but short lived.
I checked out a spring pond near the Big Hole the other day and fished it again today. The pond is pretty darn cool: crystal-clear and full of trout. Smart trout.
The first day, I fished my mom's Sagiri 45mc. I could get a follow with a little beadhead Frenchie twitched at the right moment, but no take. I sat hiding in the bushes changing flies for a couple hours. Most were completely ignored, while some got follows and refusals. I could see the fish feeding and even rising, I just needed to crack the code.
I finally got results with a large "spiky nymph", a beadhead tied with a dubbing brush of assorted guard hairs. I'd let it sink a bit then pulse it just as a trout passed by to induce the take. I took a few fish that way, then feeling confident, switched to a full-dress Alexandra for fun. To my surprise, just a few casts later, a brown slammed the fly. The first fish I've ever caught on a full dress fly, and on a seiryu rod nonetheless! I went home with a smile on my face.
Today wasn't nearly as nice of conditions. Windy, intermittent snow, and hypothermia. The techniques that worked two days ago were useless. I fished my Field Master hard with many flies and aside from a few nips on a sakasa kebari, nothing. Frustrated, I grabbed my 4wt which hasn't had much love this winter. It's at least fun to cast.
I scared a ton of trout with streamers for a while, but a pocket of rising trout on the far side kept bugging me. I desperately wanted to know what they were eating. It was obviously small but all the midges I tried were completely ignored. I mounted a 7x leader and one of the few midges I hadn't cast yet - a #26 cdc emerger. After a few minutes, I cast to a bullseye ripple that was about 40' away. I saw a rise in the general vicinity, and tightened the line. A beautiful brown trout, modest in size, but very welcome. The smallest fly I've ever caught a fish on, the first dry fly of the winter, and my first fish on a Western rod this winter.
It's amazingly frustrating, but sight fishing to picky trout is just as fun and informative as well. You can see the body language of the trout as it reacts to the way the fly is presented and even just as you move around. I also think I was developing a dependence on the Sagiri, so it's a big confidence boost to catch a difficult trout on rod I'm not nearly as skilled with. Just like everything else, it's worth working on your weaknesses: everything gets better that way.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin