Browns, Brush, and Beaver Dams
Well, it isn’t only about browns, there are a lot of cutthroats and even a few rainbows, but the browns were fun because I don’t usually catch too many of them on most of the streams I fish.
In the last few weeks I have fished a number of places, but all of them seem to be really brushy. Fishing a brushy stream is a real pain at times. There is only one way to fish these streams…. you are pretty much are forced to walk straight up the stream bed, but sometimes even that won’t work and you have to charge through the brush with the grace of a hippo.
There is no room to cast, and when you do cast the odds are about equal that your fly will land in the bushes instead of on the water. This nice pool holds a couple of browns, but if you look close my fly is well out of their reach.
But they were still there as I broke my fly off and tied on another one, I caught these two.
Then I had to wade out and retrieve the fly I broke off. That was a much deeper pool than it looks!
When you catch a good fish you can count yourself lucky if you can land it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been up to my armpits in freezing cold water unwrapping my line from around willow roots. It is amazing the intricate patterns a good fish can weave a fly line into from root to rock! Sometimes the fish is still on, and that is mostly why I struggle to unwrap it all. I can’t leave a fish wrapped up even if my line is broken. I have even had a time or two where I could get the fish loose, but had to cut my leader off to get him out and release him. Brush is an adventure and a challenge! This deep pool was impossible to get through. I had to plow my way through the brush.
I am glad I didn’t try to go up the stream there, because the other side showed the broken beaver dam,
And by floating a fly downstream through the hole I caught several fish. Only a few of which I landed though. All of those stick ends on the beaver dam made a nice place for the fish to run to.
An advantage to brushy streams is that not many other people want to fish them, and if you can get a fly to the fish they are happy to take it. Also even though your fly gets hung up frequently, the stream is small enough that it is easy to reach the fly and retrieve it. Some bushes must be extra special fly catchers because I have found three other flies on the same branches as mine hung up on. One was even a hopper dropper combo …. Two flies for the effort of retrieving one!
Occasionally the stream will open out into a beaver pond. Many of the ponds on this stream were wiped out in all of the high water we had this last spring. You can see the remains of this one on the right side of the picture.
But these two dams are amazing masterpieces of beaverdom.
There are some nice fish in these ponds, but dang they are spooky. Many of the better fish hang out at the inlet to the pond where the water is nice and clear. I put on a small dry with a light tippet and cast my 3 wt as light and delicately as is possible. It landed like a feather on the incoming current. As I watch two big fish move to take it, it was grabbed by a fast little snot of a trout that was barely pushing 12 inches. Then he ran around and jumped all over the place spooking every fish within a mile. Blankety blank teenagers!
Regretfully I said good bye to the now hiding fish of that pool and moved on.
Most of the browns were really pretty. Their spots are amazing
There were lots of cutthroats too.
There were also cuttbows and rainbows.
Even the little guys were out in all their glory.
I think I love little streams, even the really brushy ones!