I got the chance to fish for a little while today and figured I would post my results. I spent the previous day floating the St Joe river for smallmouth bass with Andy which was a blast. Drinking beer and floating down the river beats the hell out of bushwhacking through thorns and poison ivy. If only there were trout (non migratory) in the St Joe! Anyway, so I haven't been fishing much since I got poison ivy again on nearly 50% of my body including my nose and some other areas I won't mention. It has killed me not being on the river fishing every day after work as this week was perfect trout weather. Some rain and highs in the 70s has made this fishing season phenomenal so far.
I caught the Amish Nymphing bug from Andy and decided to take my 10 ft 4 wt Czech nymph rod to a remote section of the Little E outside of the catch and release area. I left my trusty 5 wt in the car so I wouldn't be tempted to fish streamers. I picked this location because it has lots of gravel bottom and fast runs perfect for nymphing, and has better hatches than the northern stretches of the river I usually fish (also easier to fish from the water so I didn't have to go thru poison ivy!) When I got here I was disappointed to see no bugs hatching but also not surprised as it was a little too sunny. I fished down stream with no results, changing flies as I fished. After numerous chubs and a smallmouth, I got a nice rainbow in the riffle section where the woods starts. I didn't wanna go into the woods with the mosquitoes and have to put bug spray on so I started to fish my back upstream.
I got to a pool where I had caught two rainbows and missed a big holdover bow two weeks before when I fished with my brother. I had already fished this run on my way downstream but figured I might as well give it a few drifts as I carried on past the bridge upstream. Besides, I was using different bugs (size 12 olive jig bugger point fly and bishop anchor fly.)
The run has changed substantially since I last fished it due to a limb falling off to the side of the run, which forced the current to carve out an even deeper pool at the end of the fast riffle section (perfect holding water for some of the biggest fish in the stream.) On my second drift thru I felt a light tick on the line and raised my rod. I thought it was a snag when I put pressure on it until it suddenly made a deep run, taking line as he went.
I kinda freaked out as my imagination ran wild about how big this fish could be. I fought the fish for several minutes on my 4 wt, reminding myself not to rush it and let the fish tire itself out. I am used to using a 5 wt and heavier tippet which gives a significant advantage when fighting bigger trout. When the fish finally surfaced for the 1st time I could see it was a big brown (perhaps the same one that bested me last summer in that stretch on two occasions!) He was tuckered out and I was able to lift his head out of the water and net him. I forgot my tape measurer in my other waders, however, I previously measured 22 inches from the butt of my rod and put a piece of tape where it fell on my rod. He measured a hair over 20 inches, but his small hook jaw made up for it. A great fish anywhere and an excellent specimen for the Little E, club worthy or not who cares!!!
After reviving and releasing him, I moved upstream. I went past the bridge and around the bend to a spot that usually holds a smallmouth. I didn't catch anything and moved up to the next riffle section. After catching a few chubs, I hooked into a a good sized brown. All of my trout thus far had taken the bishop. Right when I was about to net him, he spit the hook and got away. I would estimate him to be around 14 inches or so. I took one rainbow on a bishop and then a few casts later I caught one of the few true gems of the Little E. A wild naturally reproduced brown trout. Thanks to Mike Beachy's fantastic river restoration program, we are blessed with naturally reproducing browns.
I released the little brown and continued upstream. I fished the bend, but not well as it had changed since I last fished it and I walked right thru where I should've been fishing! I made my way around the bend to a run Doc calls the swimming hole. I let my wake settle and cast upstream into the run. I swung my nymphs up at the end of my drift and was rewarded with a nice 10 inch brown. I took one more brown of similar size and began my "trek" back to my car. I normally fish another half mile upriver, however I was on a time crunch and I didn't wanna get anymore poison ivy (#p***y!) The bite was definitely on and I can only imagine how well it would've fished upstream in some of my favorite runs.
Fly selection and Critical Info:
-Water temp: 62 degrees Fahrenheit
-Clarity: Just off color
-Nymphs: Bishop, Dutchie, Standard TH Caddis Grub, Surveyor, San Juan
-Streamers: Olive, White, or Black Conehead Buggers, Beachy's No Name Clouser, Beachy Grey and White Clouser, Slumpbuster: Olive white or black, Moto's Minnow
Nymphs were the go to as bugs should be hatching all over the system. When water gets low and clear, you can prospect with a bigger dry fly such as a size 10 PMX. Get out and fish!
This has been my first post of my fishing report De Lus (The Loop.) Check back in for more reports in the future! Schedule a trip if you've got the time and see what you're missing out on!