The Bite Window

What a tough day. Thank goodness for a little luck from rain.

I did the usual routine: pre-loaded the car the night before, awoke early and hit the Farmington at dawn. September is a tough month for fishing (prior post here), but I have to seize my fishing windows when they occur. As with other outings recently, I decided to focus on swinging wets and throwing dries.

This time, though, I did a twist: I brought my 1103 Sage ESN and paired it with regular fly line, thinking that the extra length would be great for line control when I threw wets.

I arrived at a favorite spot to which I’ve not been in a while, saw rises and proceeded to hungrily cast. After an hour, I had zero takes and switched to my #000 to throw dries and dry-droppers. After another hour, I was still blanked while fish all around me continued to rise periodically.

A mystery.

I threw everything I had (all types of flies in all types of sizes, including the heretofore “reliables”). Eventually, I went back to the wet-fly technique and finally caught a pesky little brown on a Caddis Emerger.

Puzzled, I jumped in the car and moved to a new spot. Trout can be very elusive. Bonus, though, as there were no anglers at the next stretch.

As luck would have it, the skies then opened, I heard thunder and a very powerful and unexpected rainstorm hit just as I was about to start casting. I didn’t have a raincoat with me and sought shelter. Soon, the rain ameliorated, and I headed to a favorite run and threw some wets.


A large fish breached and shot for the far bank. I hustled down river and implemented the George Daniel Fish Fighting Technique. Eventually, a 18″ buck brown with big shoulders showed up, an Al’s Rat in its mouth.

Grinning and happy for such good fortune, I walked back to the top of the run, saw some large and brown mayflies start to pop and put on a #16 BWO Emerger I had tied for fun a few weeks ago.

Soon, I cast again. Another bang.  It was a replay of the prior scene: a fish surging to the far bank, side pressure, wading quickly down river, etc. Soon, a 17″ brown said hello, with the BWO Emerger in its mouth.

Ecstatic and puzzled, I headed back to the top of the run. A third bang. Repeat the prior two scenes. Another 18″ brown showed up, with Al’s Rat firmly ensconced in its mouth, too.


Then, the blitz stopped. I fished more hours and had a few more fish to show for it, but the bite window seemed to close. I again went through multiple techniques and many flies.

Did the heavy rain draw out the big browns? Or, were they there the whole time and just feeding more cautiously? Who knows? I’ve fished after rainstorms before, but I’ve never seen so many big browns show up so quickly at one run.

As we all know, fly fishing will always be a mystery. There’s always something new to learn on the water.


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5 thoughts on “The Bite Window

  1. Sounds like an awesome afternoon JT! Inclement weather, clouds, or a simple change in the sun’s angle have also saved many a day for myself. That is crazy that you managed back to back to back trophy fish in a matter of 15-20 mins., though.

  2. Great blog. One final suggestion from a Colorado comrade. 1. find a little muddy rivlet from the rain 2. toss an ant, Brown SJW or beetle where the muddy rivlet joins the clear main current. 3. hold on…;-)

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