Six years ago, when I started to fly fish more than once a year, I visited the Swift Y-Pool on a late-winter day.
It was very intimidating.
Two anglers were fishing tiny dries and were catching fish in a snowstorm. I couldn’t believe it. I was in awe. I was a rookie and felt like one. I don’t remember if I caught fish that day. If I did, it certainly was not up top.
Soon thereafter, I decided to pay my dues and put in the hours to learn how to fish dries at clear and flat water to highly-pressured fish. Most times, dry-fly fishing at the Y-Pool still feels like a work-in-progress for me.
Not that long ago, I hit that stretch in the morning during a snowfall. Amazingly, fish were rising. You occasionally could see a trout slowly rise, eye a small bug and gently suck it down. Conditions mimicked what I saw six years ago: cold, snow and rising fish.
I started throwing dries and soon had a take but set too soon. Oops. Then, for the next few hours, I kept throwing.
There weren’t many fish, and only a few were actively feeding. Other anglers reported almost no fish at the other usual spots. Scant stockings thus far.
Some very good anglers were there. Two showed up and started catching on tiny dries. One said he was throwing 9x.
As I tried to target certain currents and avoid others, I wondered if my drifts were good enough. Then, I saw a fish eyeball my size 30 fly, pause a bit and cautiously sip.
My hook set was true, the 6x was strong, and the knots held. It was a good rainbow, and it quickly went back to roaming the pool.
As the snow fell harder and harder, the scenery became even more beautiful. Here it is.
To catch trout up top during a snowfall is a huge privilege. Dry-fly fishing is the best. One fish on a dry, for me, is worth five on a nymph.