Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Sophomore Slump 3/5/12

You often hear of the "Sophomore Slump" when people are talking about a band.  There is a new band that explodes on the scene, their debut album has critics and fans ecstatic and craving a followup that will knock their socks off equally well.  The band has a great deal of pressure to top their beloved first album, and they crack under the pressure, rush things to get it out to rabid fans, etc., and it's a let down.  And there you have the "Sophomore Slump".  I've kind of found the same phenomena when I discover a new stream or stretch of stream that I get really excited about.  The first trip is magical, I look forward to my next opportunity to return with great anticipation, and then, eh.  It ends up being average to mediocre.  Such was my adventure yesterday.

I got a really late start, as is often the case.  I returned to my new favorite little stream of browns and bows around 1:00 pm.  It was an amazing spring like day.  I could hardly believe I was fishing in a t-shirt when it was snowing most of last week.  I arrived at the access point and noted that the water was a little cleaner than last time.  I decided to fish a large set of runs downstream from where I started last time.  Well, half and hour later I had nothing to show for my efforts. I spooked one fish, and that was all the activity I had.  I worked my way upstream and finally arrived at my treasured run from last time.  First cast on the left side got me a strike, but it quickly pulled off before I had a chance to even see it.  Soon after I launched a fingerling brown downstream where he popped off the hook.  That was it for the left side, so I sidled up to fish the right side.  I quickly missed another fish, followed by a second.  Finally I pinned this little bow and was able to net him.

I hooked an average brown next, he dug down into the current and then pulled free, flinging my fly into the trees behind me.  I was using a smaller fly than last time, perhaps that's why I was having a tough time landing the fish.  I switched over to a golden brown nymph tied with orange thread and a copper bead.  I have done really well in the spring on The Blacksmith with this fly, so I gave it a whirl.  I had not strikes for a quite some time, but just as I was going to give up on the run I hooked a little better brown.  He powered around the run, never going airborne like his buddies last were so prone to doing last time.  He darted downstream and I followed, eventually netting my quarry.

Not a monster, but a good solid fish for this little stream.  I hiked my way upstream and didn't even see any fish for the next quarter mile.  The set of riffles where the fish had stacked up last time was devoid of piscatorial life.  I saw some little winter stones hatching off in the faster water, but nobody was interested.  Finally I caught an average brown from a log jam.  He fought well for his size and as I held him I admired the way he glimmered gold in the sun.

I released him and moved on.  I worked maybe 100 yards or so upstream, but didn't see any more fish.  I was nearly out of time, so I decided to try that honey hole one more time.  I had a couple of possible strikes, but they were likely the bottom.  I needed to head to work, so I packed up and went.

Kind of a disappointment.  I'm not sure what the deal was.  The water was much cleaner, which definitely could have made the fish spookier.  That one run is nearly impossible to fish unless you get up close where the fish can see you in clear water.  Still, I didn't see fish in other areas.  I think I lucked out and hit the rainbow spawn the first time, and it has likely ended.  I also hit it later in the day last time.  I saw a lot of footprints in the snow at the access point, so maybe a pack of rabid meat hunters cleaned it out.  I don't really know what the deal was, but I do know I'm going somewhere else the next time I get out.  Oh well, at least I got a good dose of vitamin D.  It sure beat sitting inside.

Total for trip:  2 browns and 1 rainbow

Total for year:  46 fish

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