I paid a second visit to that unknown water I recently had a solid day on. When I got there it looked pretty damn fishy. I was blinded by optimism. As I slowly and stealthily crept up to the run I where caught a solid fish last time, the mud under my boots gave way sending me crashing on my ass and sliding into the creek. (Sneaky sneaky) To my unpleasant surprise, the water that I stood knee deep in two weeks ago was now chest deep and nearly over-topping my waders. Great. Well, wading was not going to be an option.
Refusing to give in, I bounced from spot to spot, looking for areas I could sneak a streamer or pair of nymphs through the branches and search the edges for brown trout gold. Let me just say, you've never lived until you've tried to tuck cast/curve cast a sex dungeon around thickets of willows from the bank. I continued on searching for the few gaps I where could get a double haul and shoot line to the far bank, mend, pray, swing, and try to not snag the bushes below me.
About three quarters of a mile up stream, I could barely see the S-curve bend in the creek I knew was there. I finally made my way in to where I could make an underhand swing of the fly with nothing but my 3 foot leader out of the end of the rod. Then it happened. A gold bar shot out of the submerged branches, slowed down to check out my offering, and pounded it! And I freaking missed him.
It wasn't a trophy. Probably a mid to high teener. That didn't matter. That was my validation and I blew it! Honestly, I'm not sure what I was thinking even fishing that spot. There was no way I could have landed that fish (See above photo). At least that's what I told myself so I could sleep that night. Damn it.
Pretty awesome how that jolt of energy from seeing a fish charge your fly can totally change your determination though. It was on now.
I covered a ton of new water. I've been scouting this stream from Google Earth for months now, so I had certain things I was looking for. I made it to where the stream transitioned from long-forgotten scrubby farm fields to forest canopy. As the day progressed, decent numbers of caddis were popping and stoneflies dive bombed the surface on their kamikaze egg-laying flights. What an encouraging sight.
I optimistically flogged the water wherever I could for about a mile and a half. I saw only 1 fish, but man did I have a damn good time exploring. I got my first sun burn on the back of my hands from high-sticking. Another good sign for the year!
Then I reached a sweet looking bend I've had my eye on for a while now. I spotted downed trees from aerial imagery adjacent to a good riffle. It was so cool to finally set eyes on it. I hope to spend some time here watching for risers soon.
Exploring a new home water like this is a blast. There are no books written about it, no articles, no hatch charts, nor does the name of the creek appear in threads of online forums. Huge thank you to the people I never met who fished it before me and left some good secrets to be discovered by those seeking piscatorial rewards in wild settings.