Time: 3:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: Private water up to Sylvan Lake Road bridge
Fish Landed: 2
Tom, Dave G. and I returned to the Gaboury house in Eagle Ranch and relaxed for a bit after eating our lunches. It was a gorgeous spring day in the Rocky Mountains and the temperature reached the low 70’s. By 2:30 we were sufficiently rested to embark on another fishing expedition, and this time we chose the convenient nearby Brush Creek. As we crossed the stream on our way back from the Eagle River, I glanced down and noted that Brush Creek was crystal clear.
We climbed back into our waders and jumped in my car and drove to the bridge where Brush Creek flows under Sylvan Lake Road. Our first move was to try the deep run just upstream from the bridge. Dave G. and Tom advanced to the sweet spot and began casting a dry/dropper, while I converted from deep nymphing to the dry/dropper technique. The flows were higher than during my visits in late summer and September, but still quite ideal as it was easy to read the likely fishing holding locations. Slapping a thingamabobber and split shot would have disturbed the water excessively, and snags and hang ups would have been frequent and frustrating.
I elected to tie on a small Chernobyl ant and added an ultra zug bug below it and then attached a beadhead soft hackle emerger. I was hoping that blue winged olives were present in Brush Creek, and fish had a long memory as we were a bit late in the afternoon to expect an emergence. Finally I was ready and began casting to some small marginal pockets below the long juicy run being prospected by Dave G. and Tom. No fish were evident, so I moved below the point of a tiny island and tossed a couple casts to a small deep run on the north side of the island. Nothing showed in the bottom half of the run, so I decided to go for broke and fired a cast to the very top. Unfortunately there was a small log protruding along the upper edge, and I wrapped my flies around it. I waded to the location of my tangle, and as I approached a nice trout bolted from cover and shot downstream. Disappointment reigned.
Dave G. extracted three browns from the premium run, and now we climbed back to the road, crossed, and walked across the grassy flat to the end of the private water. At this point we played hopscotch and alternated from one attractive hole to the next. Tom and Dave G. moved as a team, and Dave G. was assisting Tom in casting and reading the water. I made one jump when I reached a long narrow run next to a high undercut bank. I was just above Tom and Dave G. who were thoroughly and expertly covering the tail of the long run just below me.
I actually saw a small brown rise, so I I began drifting my three flies through the general area where the fish appeared, but my flies were ignored until on perhaps the fifth drift closer to the undercut, the Chernobyl dodged sideways. I executed a solid hook set and felt some significant weight, but it was only momentary, and the line went limp. When I reeled up my flies I discovered that the soft hackle emerger was missing so indeed my hook set was apparently more than solid.
On I moved leapfrogging the fishing tandem a few more times until I came to another twenty foot long run next to another protruding log. This log however was right in front of me, and I had no problem drifting my flies several feet to the left. On the second drift I spotted the flash of a fish refusing the Chernobyl, and usually this means I will have no success, but I ignored the norm and tossed another cast upstream so the flies drifted back along the current seam a foot or two to the left of the previous lane. Near the end of the drift I observed a fish slowly shifting to the left, and then it sipped the Chernobyl ant. This fish was a rainbow, and it put up a brief battle before I subdued it in my net and snapped a couple photos. This was my first fish caught on a dry fly in the new season, and the exhilaration of a surface take remains one of the highlights of fly fishing.
For the next hour I continued to skip around Tom and Dave G., but I was having no success. When the water is low and clear, I suspect that this method of fishing spooks a lot of fish as it is difficult to skirt the stream during the upstream detours. At any rate, my flies were no longer producing, and we finally reached the Sylvan Lake Bridge close to 5PM. Tom and Dave G. returned to the juicy run where they had begun their afternoon venture, and I once again worked some marginal spots below the bridge and then just above. I was wading to the bottom tip of the small island, when I saw Dave G. waving his arms. Clearly they wanted my presence, so I advanced to the base of the run and discovered a gorgeous brown trout in excess of 15 inches in Dave’s net. They were motioning me as Tom had landed this big boy, and they wanted to capture it in digital form. I snapped a photo of Tom holding the net and then a shot of the wild brown in the net and finally a couple shots of Tom gripping the brown with two hands.
Once my photography chores were complete, Dave G. suggested I take one last shot at the fish that I spooked on the other side of the small island, so I obliged. I did not require much encouragement. I cautiously positioned myself at the tip of the island and once again made a few short casts at the tail to no avail. It was now time to go for all the marbles so I lofted a cast to the top of the run, but learned from my past mistake and avoided the log. As the Chernobyl drifted back along the small current seam a fish nosed the surface and sucked in the fraudulent ant. I reacted and played a 13 inch brown to my net. Again I snapped photos and then gently nudged the catch back into the stream.
It was an exciting end to a pleasant afternoon on Brush Creek. After an enjoyable morning on the Eagle River, two nice trout landed on Brush Creek were nice additions to a successful early spring day of fishing.