The 10-day weather forecast suggested that this MIGHT be the last 70+ degree day for the year. Such a nice day should be spent outdoors FISHING, so I took the day off from work. I had stayed up until almost 1am the previous evening tying flies for the day's adventure, so I was tired when the alarm went off at 6am. I went back to sleep until almost 8am. I looked out the window, and the remaining leaves on the trees were still...it was very calm. ALRIGHT! I figured that would help me located some trout near shore once I got to the lake.
I quickly got dressed and descended to the kitchen. I looked out the back windows and...WIND??? Darn! I knew it was coming (forecasted 10-15mph winds), but I hoped I would be at the lake before it started to blow. Oh well.
I ate breakfast and quickly got the few items I needed into the car and headed to the lake. When I arrived, there were already 4 cars parked around the lake with fishermen scattered around the shoreline. I parked, and decided to walk around the lake until I saw signs of trout, or otherwise found a spot that looked worthy fishing.
I had walked about a 1/3 of the way around the lake, when I saw some boils and swirls. TROUT! As I got closer, I could see a dark patch about 20' off shore, which was a pod of trout. I had a yellow Boa Yarn Leech on my line from fishing for bluegills, crappies and bass the previous evening, so I tossed it out beyond the edge of the pod. I didn't want to cast or retrieve directly through the pod in case this would make them scatter, so I tried to pick fish off the edges. I caught the first Rainbow Trout of the day on that Boa Yarn Leech.
Since I had a good visual on the pod of trout, and found them to be willing to hit flies, I switched to a Blue Thunder streamer pattern, originated by Ian James. I didn't have purple Flashabou, so I used pearl Krystal Flash under a thin topping of purple bucktail.
This was one of the patterns I had tied the previous night, and I wanted to see what the trout thought of it. Turns out....THEY LOVED IT! I was catching fish or missing strikes on nearly every cast for quite some time. I caught both Rainbows and Brookies on it.
Although the streamer was holding up really well to catching all those fish, I eventually I had to take the fish-shredded remnants of the streamer off my line and try some other patterns. I caught quite a few fish on a beadhead softhackle nymph pattern:
And a few Rainbows on an olive Woolly Bugger with black hackle:
An angler who had been fishing unsuccessfully about 70 yards away with spinning gear and an in-line spinner noticed my success, and he moved his gear down to the opposite side of me. He fished there for a bit, but wasn't catching anything. He was amazed at how the fish were going after the fly I was using. He came over and asked what I was using. I said I would show him, and just then missed a good strike. My line, leader, tippet and fly flew out of the water and wrapped around John's (that was his name) spinning rod. I laughed and said, "Well, there it is!" We disentangled our gear, and he looked at the streamer. He said he has a fly rod, but has never really used it. He was amazed at how I was able to catch fish on nearly every cast (a slight exaggeration). I told him how I had spotted the fish, showed him the darker patch of water that was the pod of trout, and told him how I was trying to pull fish off the edges of it. I also told him to go ahead and walk down beyond the pod, so we could each cast to the fish from opposite sides. Over the next hour or so, he caught 5 trout on his spinner, compared to around 30 that I caught on flies. He got more and more interested in fly-fishing, and would sometimes just watch what I was doing, and ask questions. I tried to get him to try casting my rod, but he refused. I told him I at LEAST wanted him to see what one of those trout feels like on the end of the fly line, so I cast out about 20 times, and let him work the fly back in (by this time, I had a beadhead nymph under a strike indicator). He missed a few fish, but he eventually hooked, fought and landed 2 Rainbow Trout. He thought that was fantastic! He was saying how he was going to have to dig out his unused fly rod and start learning how to cast, so he could do this on his own. RIGHT ON! I also told him how fly fishing also works really well for Crappies, Bluegills, Bass, Catfish, Carp....just about everything!
John took this picture of me with a Brook Trout:
Anyway, the action had declined, but we had spent a good hour talking about fly-fishing and whatnot. He had kept his limit of 5 trout, which he wanted to give to his neighbor. He needed to get home and clean the fish, so we parted ways.
I had already caught 43 Rainbow Trout and 4 Brook Trout by this time. I moved to the opposite side of the lake so I wouldn't have to cast into the strong wind anymore. There wasn't much fish activity over there, but I stayed and fished. I caught a few more Rainbow Trout, then tied on a foam Chernobyl Ant/Hopper. I caught a couple more Rainbows and a Bluegill on it. It wasn't floating as well as I wanted, so I put on a larger foam Hopper. I caught a Brook Trout on that, which I thought was just fantastic! The two pictures below are of the same fish.
Final fish tally was 48 Rainbow Trout, 5 Brook Trout, and 1 Bluegill.
What I had hoped to achieve this day was to catch a good number of trout (did that) on fly-fishing gear, I wanted to catch at least a few of the Brook Trout on fly gear (did that), and catching one on a surface pattern was really icing on the cake! Although the action had started off very fast and then tapered off to almost nothing...I was very pleased!
My buddy Jay called and said the White Bass were hitting really good at the local reservoir, so I decided to give it up on a GREAT day of fly-fishing for trout at Lake Petocka. I left at around 3pm, stopped by my house to pick up appropriate White Bass fishing gear, and headed for the reservoir to meet up with Jay. But THAT report is in the NEXT blog!