Flipping the Script

It was the same cast and the same stage. But the script was different, as the fish didn’t cooperate.

I ventured from our house yesterday at 3 am, armed with Trico dries, spinners, and lightly-weighted sunken spinners. I had tied up some ant patterns, too. It felt like the right line-up for an August fly-fishing day.

 

I wasn’t feeling hungry and decided to skip the Dunkin’ stop. I’m at the age where eating-when-not-hungry is a bad idea. Plus, I was eager to see Tricos.

Everything went according to plan when I was the first person at a particular pool. And, I waited at the bank for the Trico hatch, lest I disturb any fish in the shallows.

Last week’s cast showed up, too (see prior post here). Dad Jeans ambled to the river with his wispy-light dry-fly rod in his hand. The father-daughter duo also arrived, fresh from last week’s hammering of browns on big lures. This time, the father didn’t slip into the water.

But, we didn’t stick to the script. I waited and waited for the Tricos, and they didn’t come. Was it the overnight temperature change? The sudden decrease in humidity? Bugs are mysterious.

It was a bad omen when Dad Jeans was skunked and left. The big spoons that the father-daughter team used also didn’t deliver this time, and they also left.

I saw a few fish rise to what I assumed were midges, but I wasn’t able to move any trout, let alone catch one. I debated going home.

August can be a truly a soporific month for fly fishing. The fish are jaded, flows are low, and small bugs predominate. I find September can be the same. Maybe it is why the river traffic yesterday was pretty light. College students have gone back for Zoom University, and sane people know that fishing is tough.

I decided to grab a sandwich and jumped back in the car. A hot Reuben sounded great, I thought.

During the drive, I passed by some of the pull-outs. I was surprised to find many were unfilled with cars. On a whim, I decided to fish one of the glamour spots. The sandwich could wait.

The sun was noon-high and beat down on the river. You could see the bottom at most points. Fish were periodically rising, and I went through about 12 flies before switching to Euro. It was supposed to be a dry-fly day for me, but I decided to switch scripts. I really wanted to see some fish.

I targeted some likely holding spots with tiny flies, kneeling along the bank to lower my profile. Like clock work, some trout started to appear. After a fish or two, I’d stop fishing to rest the run and just enjoy the scenery. There’s a lot to like about fly fishing, but hearing the sound of moving water while seated in the shade is one of the best ones.

And, that’s how my afternoon went: cycles of tightlining, taking a fish or two, and pausing. The hardest-fighting fish of the day was a ‘bow that jumped twice and was surprised as I was that it was hooked. It taped at a decent 15″ and was lying at the bottom of some quick-and-dark water.

After 10 hours of fishing, my body said it was time to go. I got my hot Reuben at 4 pm before the long drive back.

Sane people should definitely eschew fishing right now. Conditions are brutal, given the low flows and the picky fish.

For those obsessed, though, I’ll see you on the water. Hopefully, the Tricos will gather very soon. That’s always a nice segue to streamer fishing in the fall.

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8 thoughts on “Flipping the Script

  1. Fished Friday and bumped into several anglers specifically waiting for Tricos. Didn’t see any surface activity. Worked on tightlining and finally hooked several Rainbows and quit while ahead! Its tough fishing but the only game in town!

      1. Good work knowing when to change tactics. It shows your in tune to the environment around you. Things in a lull here on coast as well. Salt ponds have heated up and stripers are tough right now for newbies like me. Did manage my first ever false albacore and Atlantic chub mackeral with the fly (blue zonker streamer) on Monday of Watch Hill RI. Albies were small. Never saw small ones like that before.

        1. Congrats on the albie! I didn’t know they were up here right now. I’d like to get one on a fly, but I heard that the 8 weight setup I have for schoolies will be no match for an albie.

  2. I fooled 2 Friday at sunrise on a very small caddis. Then the rises became very sporadic. Switched to nymphing in fast shallow water and picked up a half dozen more before packing it in at 2pm. Largest was a 15” rainbow on a stone fly but the prettiest was a survival strain brown on a Perdigon. The rest were small browns that didnt know about the dog days yet.

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