Wild Brown Trout Muddy Meathead

Muddy Meathead

by | Jun 30, 2015 | 13 comments

We slipped our way down the muddy trail in a controlled stumble, just on the edge of going ass-over-teacups into the drink at the end of the line.  The line was a well worn path Dad and I have been down many times before, leading to the top end of a favorite island on a favorite river. We came through the brush to once again meet this water on its own terms.

Muddy.

Not dirty, stained, cloudy, murky or any other of the various terms fishermen use to describe the stages of suspended particles in the flow. Muddy — the worst of the descriptors on the list. Visibility about six inches, at best.

We’ve been through this before. I’d estimate that a full seventy-five percent of our camping trips on this river have been blow-outs. That’s no joke. We’ve been doing this for ten years, and it almost always rains for this trip … a lot.  Often the river gets destroyed the day we get there and starts clearing as we leave. Again, this is not hyperbole. We’ve just not been lucky with river conditions there.

READ: Troutbitten | The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

wpid-20150624_141906-01.jpeg

wpid-20150624_141915-01.jpeg

So we’ve learned to deal with what we’re given. We find places and ways to fish because Dad is stubborn enough to stick with a plan, and I am (of course) exactly the same way. I like to think of this trait as tenacious, persistent, dedicated conviction. But at its worst we become what wives in our family call obstinate and cranky. Either way, sometimes perseverance pays off . . .

The first day of the trip we traveled over an hour from camp to take a chance on another river. I knew the water was high, but I thought it would be more fishable there.  And it was. We enjoyed good action for a hot summer day, with alternating thunderstorms and sunny skies,  mostly catching wild trout on nymphs, and usually on the edges of faster currents.

20150621_134623

wpid-20150629_124530-01.jpeg

wpid-20150623_185922-01.jpeg

Dad

wpid-img_20150630_081450.jpg

wpid-20150624_170605-01.jpeg

In recent years, the muddy creek hasn’t mattered all that much. Because, for part of the trip, I bring my boys to the mountain for a couple days. And while they love to fish, they enjoy the other things that happen at camp even more, like hiking through ferns, mushroom hunting, flashlight games and campfires. You never can predict what will make the biggest imprint in a young boy’s mind. This time it was tailgate rides on Pappy’s truck.

wpid-20150622_154650-01.jpeg

Bad banana placement. My mistake.

wpid-20150622_161325-01.jpeg

It’s quiet out there. When the truck has stopped and the voices are calmed, the silence in the trees is stunning. Not many moments among the din of modern life come with such a pure absence of commotion. No buzz. No hum of electricity. The nothingness will fill up your soul if you let it.

wpid-20150624_175629-01.jpeg

— — — — — —

And so, after returning the boys to the civilized world, I found myself sliding down that muddy trail with my Dad — two hours of daylight left on the third day of Summer Camp 2015.

The sun came off the water about a half hour in, and the fish stirred a bit. I was still fishing streamers, not only because they matched the water type, but because I’m hip to the strip; because I’m totally committed. Because I’m all in. I’m really tough and really trendy. Because my streamer is bigger than yours, and because we all know the only way to catch large trout is on large streamers. Just kidding.

Actually, I’m mostly a nymph fisherman, but sometimes I keep fishing streamers because I’m stubborn . . . and there it is again.

Things started to happen. I moved two really nice trout — the kind of fish that makes you yell four-letter words as the opportunity vanishes — and I picked up a couple average sized browns. I went over to visit with Dad, and I plopped a few casts next to the bank across from him. He was at the top of the river-left side of the island. I walked across to the far side and waded through the high water by myself, into position to fish a place that’s a little special to the Troutbitten guys. I moved a small fish, then chucked the next cast as close to the water-logged tree stump as I dared.  Strip … drift … strip, strip … drift… strip … BAM!

Momentum carried him to the top of the brown water, and I saw the fish I’ve been waiting for. He swam hard to the tree stump, but with strong 2X I changed his mind. These are the moments fishermen live for. It was the culmination of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed me, and relentless hope against forceful, muddy water.

He took a couple of runs, but considering his size, the fight was short. I surprised him with the net, aided by the cover of muddy water.

upload_-1

Muddy Meathead

Big Boy

It was the best fish I’ve caught since New Year’s Eve.

I sat and watched the moving water grow darker, until the moon reflected across the muddy surface.

I love the water.

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Canyon Caddis

Canyon Caddis

Some of these caddis were swamped by the current or damaged by their acrobatic and reckless tumbling. And the broken ones didn’t last long. Large slurps from underneath signaled the feeding of the biggest trout, keying in on the opportunity for an easy meal.

Smith and I shared a smile at the sheer number of good chances. Trout often ignore caddis, because the emerging insects spend very little time on the surface, and trout don’t like to chase too often. But with a blanket hatch like this, the odds stack up, and trout were taking notice . . .

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

Natural vs Attractive Presentations

. . . Let’s call it natural if the fly is doing something the trout are used to seeing. If the fly looks like what a trout watches day after day and hour after hour — if the fly is doing something expected — that’s a natural presentation.

By contrast, let’s call it attractive if the fly deviates from the expected norm. Like any other animal in the wild, trout know their environment. They understand what the aquatic insects and the baitfish around them are capable of. They know the habits of mayflies and midges, of caddis, stones, black nosed dace and sculpins. And just as an eagle realizes that a woodland rabbit will never fly, a trout knows that a sculpin cannot hover near the top of the water column with its nose into heavy current . . .

Cicadas, Sawyer and the Clinic

Cicadas, Sawyer and the Clinic

Just as the Cicada settled again, with its deer hair wing coming to rest and its rubber legs still quivering, the pool boss came to finish what he started. His big head engulfed the fly, and my patience finally released into a sharp hookset on 3X. The stout hook buried itself against the weight of a big trout . . .

You Need Contact

You Need Contact

Success in fly fishing really comes down to one or two things. It’s a few key principles repeated over and over, across styles, across water types and across continents. The same stuff catches trout everywhere. And one of those things . . . is contact.

. . . No matter what adaptations are made to the rig at hand, the game is about being in touch with the fly. And in some rivers, contact continues by touching the bottom with something, whether that be a fly or a split shot. Without contact, none of this works. Contact is the tangible component between success and failure.

Find Your Rabbit Hole

Find Your Rabbit Hole

Understanding the ideas of other anglers through the decades is how I learn. It’s how we all learn. The names change, but the process remains. We build a framework from others. Then we fit together the pieces of who we are as an angler . . .

One Last Change

One Last Change

Every angler goes fishing to get away from things — and most times that means getting away from people too. So whether they be friends or strangers on the water, going around the bend and walking off gives you back what you were probably looking for in the first place . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

13 Comments

  1. Read your about page… I Thought the vegetation looked like PA. Good story!

    Reply
  2. Dom in my opinion the stories are your best work. I can recall there being writing like this in Field and Stream when I was younger and always appreciated how those stories evoked the excitement in me, just like this one did. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading, John.

      Reply
  3. Great story Dom. But what about this tease…”It was the culmination of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed me”? ( By the way, if you hadn’t mentioned the banana 95% of the readers probably wouldn’t have noticed. Tip: It’s better to explain your faux pas after the fact than to draw attention to them at the get-go. Ask your Dad.) And I hope you realize I’m pulling your leg!

    Reply
    • Nice.

      Reply
  4. Great read .. awesome brown too.

    Reply
    • It was a fun fish.

      Reply
  5. Dom where’s the discussion of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed you?

    Reply
    • It’s not yet written down, brother.

      Reply
  6. Dominic, this story is great! Made me laugh out loud twice…banana comment and the hip to the strip streamer fishing paragraph. What is it with steamer fishing!?!?! I guess if I got better at it I’d get it more. You’ve certainly got it figured out. I caught a big cutthroat on the snake a long time ago with high muddy water. Such a great feeling. You captured it well! Thanks.

    Reply
  7. What a nice story – fishin’ & family. With a great happy ending!
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Great story. I wished night fishing was legal after dark on most trout streams in VA. I’ve tried it once before I found out it was illegal. Had a few bumps on my mouse in a pool known to hold huge stockers rainbows. I’ll keep looking for new opportunities. Keep it up.

    Reply
  9. Great post, great site and you’ve opened new vistas, while eviscerating previous assumptions. And… fine photography.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest