It always ends in a leap of faith. The easiest way to access this brook is to sit at the edge of a 20’ precipice and push one’s self off into space. When dry, the earth is grainy and crumbles underfoot. When wet, it makes a slippery paste underfoot that makes arriving at the bottom MUCH faster than most are comfortable with. I was pleased to find that frozen and patched with snow gave the most sure-footed descent I’d ever experienced. I sat beside the rushing water and watched. For several minutes there was nothing but the water slipping and tumbling along. I saw the silver of the fish, only recording the sound of its take subconsciously, if at all. Not a large one by any means, but in a small brook with light gear they don’t need to be.
I watched the water as several more strikes were noted along the run. I couldn’t detect anything at all in the surface film they could be feeding on so I opted for a #14 BHP nymph common to this area. Over the course of an hour I took three rainbows from the brook. They were feeding aggressively all around me but I had yet to see what was causing their activity. I was joined by another fisher and after exchanging pleasantries he moved up toward the head of the run to try a tiny copper John. He pulled a nice 14-15” rainbow after a number of casts, but that was the extent of his luck while we were fishing together. We were visited by a young game warden that provided me with my first license check in over forty years of active fishing. He was a pleasant fellow that didn’t seem the least bit impressed with himself. It’s refreshing to run across someone in a position of authority who carries an attitude like this young man.
Making my way downstream, I came to some larger fish working the surface. I drifted a number of patterns over them and they would have none of it. Frustrated, I moved below them and waded out to a shallow area near mid-stream. Crouching down, I had a good close view of the brook’s surface and soon found what was causing their behavior. A tiny, snow white insect paused to swirl at my knees before being carried on downstream. It was about ¼ the length of a grain of rice and once I began looking for that specific insect, I could see them drifting above the surface and the spent ones passing in the current. When I stood, they were almost impossible to see but with my eyes only a couple of feet above the water it wasn’t too hard to spot them. The air temperature was probably in the upper 30’s by this time and that was obviously enough to get these little guys stirring. My nearest fly was about four times bigger than the insect and the wrong color. I tried getting some pictures of the little bugs but my camera isn’t worth much on close-ups. I have enough trouble photographing my flies at home with them clamped in the vice!
I sat for awhile where the brook empties into the river. I made a few casts over the steep drop-offs here, but the light rod and small flies I was carrying were ill-suited to this big water. The scenery was grand and I was treated to this formation of geese making all sorts of racket as they passed overhead:
Finally, a snapshot from the drive home that was taken about 10-15 miles from the river: