Time: 10:30AM – 4:15PM
Location: One mile from the trailhead.
The temperature was in the low forties as I began to hike along the trail that followed Mountain Creek. I planned to persist for forty minutes, but the low clear stream and inviting pools induced me to quit after twenty minutes of walking at a fast pace. I estimated my stopping point to be a mile, and I concluded that I was beyond the most pressured section of the creek. I rigged my Orvis Access four weight with a peacock hippy stomper and added a beadhead hares ear, and I approached a gorgeous pool to execute my first cast of the day at 10:30AM.
Between 10:30 and noon I landed seven brown trout and one brook trout, and most of the action was generated by the hippy stomper. The morning time frame was research and development, as it was my first visit to Mountain Creek, and it took me awhile to discover that marginal spots were a waste of valuable fishing time. Another bit of acquired knowledge made me realize that the low flows and clear water dictated cautious approaches. I witnessed quite a few rapid evacuation drills in the early going.
After lunch I removed the dry/dropper in order to experiment with a Jake’s gulp beetle, but the only response was a couple of tentative looks. Next I reverted to the dry/dropper and added an ultra zug bug to the hares ear to achieve greater depth, and the move seemed to work. Between 12:15 and 4:15 I built the fish count to 42! The main producer was the beadhead hares ear, but the hippy stomper contributed one out of four landed fish, and the third fly in the alignment was an occasional producer. I tested a bright green caddis pupa, emerald caddis pupa, and a size 14 iron sally as the top fly during the afternoon.
Three browns landed in the afternoon were in the fifteen to sixteen range, and I was quite elated to encounter them in the close quarters of Mountain Creek. I observed several pairs of actively spawning trout, but my larger catches were individual fish that remained in a feeding mood. I debated whether they were pre-spawn brown trout or large resident trout, but I will never know the answer to that question.
Two twelve inch rainbow trout were in the mix in the afternoon and added to the diversity. I speculated that the rainbows were on high protein diets, and they were scavenging brown trout eggs. In addition to forty-two landed fish, I registered many temporary hook ups, and I spooked too many trout to count.
What a day! I explored new water and stumbled into a very productive mountain freestone creek. I refined my approach during my five hours on the water and gradually elevated my catch rate. I learned to approach cautiously and to pause to observe before casting. If I adhered to these tenets of fly fishing in a small stream with low clear flows, I enjoyed a high level of success. I am certain to return in the future, and I will hike deeper into the high country in my quest for wild trout.
Fish Landed: 42