Independence Day Fishing

(Repost – Original failed to save to the Current Ramblings page, after being emailed on 7/5. Apologies for the extra traffic)

Well, after the post earlier yesterday, the weather continued for a while with windy and cloudy conditions, and for some time seemed like it would stay that way. Right around dinnertime, though, the clouds darkened, and the rain poured…for about 20 minutes. After that, the temps dropped from the mid-80s into the mid-70s, the wind died down, and the clouds became lighter and broken.

In other words, the fishing conditions greatly improved!

The raw stats – heading out of my driveway, the dashboard claimed an air temp of 72°F and the river flow monitor said my intended destination (Little Naches River) was running around 270cfs (still a bit high, but steadily dropping).

I pulled up to the parking spot near that pool, where I’ve been having success, and found the water had cleared up a bit, too.

After I geared up, I walked to a spot where I could cross over to the river well downstream of this pool, and headed in.

Every time I step into a river, at the beginning of a fishing outing, I have that moment where I have to stop, take a deep breath, and just “experience the moment.” The water around my legs, pushing against me (usually gently), feels like it is coming to pull the tension from me and just wash it away. When I get a view like this, though, that pause is longer, the breath deeper, and the relaxation just that much more profound.

Turning upstream, I was pleasantly surprised by how much more calm the next section was, compared to previous visits.

That bend, on the left side, had been a partially white-water swirl of conflicting currents, on all the previous visits. This time, there was a bit of back current, but far easier to cast to the rock wall (that is just out of view), and let the fly float reasonably drag-free, with a strong wiggle cast.

I worked my way around that rocky point, but without seeing any interest in the flies I tried. The riffle that comes in from the right, while lower and slower than before, was still too much to wade across, so I tried that pool for a while, still seeing no interest from below.

It had only been a couple of hours since the rains and the front coming through, so I decided to leave this area and head upstream to the next major bend.

Yes, this looks fast, furious, and heavily conflicted in currents. The good news, though, is that strip of moist rocks, on the right, about 2/3 of the way towards the far side of the water. That was fully submerged on prior visits. When the water level comes down a bit more, there will end up being a dry, rocky strip that will run upstream from there, with a side channel beyond and the near side will be pocket water with some deeper holes in it, leading down to that pool where the water hits the wall. All of this area offers good hiding for trout!

On this visit, I connected with a couple of younger Bows in the near-side seam of the outflow, after about 30 minutes. Given the absence of interest from the fish in the first section I tried, this was a great sign. I toyed around with some other parts of this area, and ran a dry/dropper rig through the trough a few times, but didn’t get anything more.

I did, however, notice that the mayfly count in the air around me was picking up. This, combined with the bit of success in this section, had me reeling in my line and heading back down to the first area.

Upon my return, the pool was clearly heating up, in terms of mayfly (and small caddis) in the air. No rises, yet, but I knew it could not be much longer, so I went back to where I had entered the waters, earlier, and started over.

By the time I got back to the pool, there were small takes happening on the edges of the pool!

As I got into position, a small bird flitted onto one of the protruding roots of that downed tree, next to me. I tried to get to my phone to take a pic, as it was only about 3′ away, but it flew to the rocks closer to the water, as I did. Still, a nice and unexpected splash of color.

Settling back into place, I lined up and started casting with the Elk Hair Caddis that was still on my line.


I tried the Orange Stimmy, then. This is what I was successful with, at the upstream area, so it made sense to give it a turn.


I tried that little #20 Spinner I had tied only a few days before, and connected with a Bow, shortly thereafter. Nice to get validation that my flies came make the grade! Interesting, too, as I pulled out the Quick Seine that is attached to my net, and took a few passes through the water, and did not find any spinners in there.

Memories of previous dinners, I suppose.

As I fished that pool, the sky progressively darkened with the onset of night. I remained there, casting and concentrating, until that little #20 just couldn’t be seen anymore…at least by me. The fish, too, seemed to lose track of it, although the sometimes-splashy surface takes continued. I will have to work on other possible fly options, for future evening visits.

All told, I went through 5 different flies in barely 2 hours.

The nymph was ignored, the Caddis and the Parachute Adams got some splashy refusals, and the Stimmy and Spinners got all the action. Opposite ends of the spectrum to my eyes, but they aren’t the eyes that count in this.

Such a blessing to have waters like this so close to home.

Didn’t go see fireworks, obviously, but I don’t feel like I was missing anything.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July.

Tight lines…