As children we are taught at a very young age to share. Share toys, share candy, we all must share. And for the most part it seems this societal rule carries on through adulthood. These rules apparently do not apply in the trout world. Plain and simple, trout don't share. They don't share food and they don't share hiding spots, as I witnessed on Day Two of my Labor Day trout search. I started out the day with a mental debate over whether I should fish the Trico hatch of the Rush or hit one of the bread and butter sections of another stream in the area. After seeing the mass of fishermen along the Rush, I chose option two. Most fish seem to be smaller in this other stream but every stream holds a few secrets and this stream seems to be no exception. I start out by fishing behind the field. Once again the first thing that I notice is that every rock and weed has a million caddis stuck to them. The first hole that I fish contains at least two known 16-inch plus fish, but this morning it's slow. One small but fat brown was all I could manage. Moving upstream I picked up a couple more short fat fish on what else, caddis dry flies. It seems that the browns in here are starting to grow up after a few years of all-you-can-eat caddis buffet dinners. Next up is the big pool under the big tree that has a smaller lower pool exiting the big pool. A small trout spooks from the tailwaters as I approach the lower pool. Normally I hate when this happens. It's like these trout are posting guard to the castle and notify every fish in the pool that danger is approaching. Anyways, this scout trout takes off screaming upstream towards a big rock near the middle of the pool. To my surprise, as it settles into its hiding spot under the rock it also kicks out a nice trout that had already taken up residence in the hiding spot. They say that size matters and in the trout world size usually wins out. But not this time. After a quick cruise of the lower pool the bigger trout finally settles in just above the rock.
Instead of casting right away, I wait. Patience is becoming a secret lure of mine and I think I'm finally learning how to use it to my advantage. That hasn't always been the case, but I think I'm finally starting to figure it out. Patience allows me to just stand there and watch the bigger trout in action. I can see him mouthing something, could he be feeding a little? I also take a few pictures and devour a mouthful sunflower seeds. When the seeds are finished, I finally decide to cast. My first cast finds a tree. Luckily it's only a catch-and-release tree, which allows me to continue on. the second cast was perfect but no takers. Cast three and maybe number six or seven are also good but no takers. I switch over to a size 14 caddis nymph, the psycho nymph, a.k.a. just Psycho. Psycho is a fine looking beadhead nymph with plenty of sparkle and biot tails. I have no idea what scientifically-named caddis it is supposed to represent, all I know is that it looks very buggy and works pretty darn well. First and second casts with psycho are off to the side. Third cast is perfect, up above and just to the side of the big trout. The big brown looks at psycho but doesn't take. Four cast is almost the same cast but this time I watch him casually inhale psycho. A quick hook set, followed by a few minutes of man vs. beast occurs. In the end, man wins the battle and the 17" brown is in hand, pictures taken and tape measured to keep me honest. Back she goes and I'm suddently back at the car and again fishing the next stretch of water.
Again I'm walking well away from the road to a pool that I know not many fish, mainly becuase it's a pool that just formed over the last few years. It's funny how erosion and a few new rocks can alter a stream so much. It's a pool with a good riffle heading in with deeper water in the middle and weeds and a few rocks to compliment. I'm at the tail end of the pool. I remember seeing a few medium sized fish in it last year and made a mental last year that it had fish "potential". Again, patience is used as I move into position. I recall how to fish this pool. even thought there's a reflection on the pool, I know there's weeds along the sides. I also know the fish sit off to the middle/left side. First cast I throw up into the guts of the pool, again with psycho. Following my line back, it suddenly goes tight. I set the hook and my line takes off like a rocket. I know it's a good fish. One quick run up to the top of the pool and back again, and whoosh, a big brown does his best imitation of a dolphin by going airborne! My first look at him and he's three feet above the water. A few minutes later, again a battle of man vs. fish, and man vs. fish in the weeds (twice) and I get him in close. He won't come to hand and by chance I'm without my net, so I finally muscle him up to shore and trap him from deep water with my knees and hands. A few pictures and a tape measure (again, to keep me honest) and back he goes. He measured just a fraction under 19 inches.
In elementary school they taught us to round to the nearest whole number, so I'll call him a 19 incher in honor of my third grade math teacher. After the release of Mr. 19 I get my gear back in line up on the bank. I decide to check out where Mr. 19 was hiding by looking at it from the stream bank. By peeking through the weeds on the bank I can see Mr. 19 wedged under a rock in the middle of the pool. But to my surprise, Mr. 19 has decided not to share his hiding spot. Now there is another decent fish in the middle of the pool, maybe not quite as big as Mr. 19 but still decent. Again, more patience. And more sunflower seeds. Moments later I was fishing again, and the trout started to cooperate again by taking in the Psycho. To cap off the day, the other big fish, a 16 incher, was among those in the same pool that were willing.
Not bad for one day, three measured fish, 16, 17 and 19 inches. Moral of the story: sharing is not always good. At least not if you are a trout fisherman. Sometimes not sharing reveals a secret or two, and sometimes you can use it to your advantage.