October 14, 2021 – Caleb Smith State Park
The park closes for the season tomorrow so I wanted to get in one more day even if the fishing has been reported as slow. I called this morning and all but 2 beats were available. I took 5 knowing 6 and 7 would be mine as well, unless some other late-comer checked in.
I hear the guys above me, Bob and Richie, hooting and hollering at their first catches as the the guys from the morning session are just leaving.
Upper 5 surprised me. It is full of fish. Lots of good size rainbows and brookies. They liked the Ant and one big girl took it hard, fighting more than any recently stocked fish would care to do. After several runs and retreats, she takes my fly with her. I put on a few others but they only seem to take them once sunk. As I moved to mid 5 the population thinned out as they would if recently stocked, but that was no stockie who took my Ant. Maybe some veteran fish were attracted to mix in with the newbies – who knows?
Next is the former Bend Hole on 5 which has been changed over the last few years due to floods. I worked it with some dries and then put on a Dace. Nobody seemed to be in there. The next spot I like is on the opposite side of the river and I work it. After a while I walk through and scare whoever it was that was watching my antics.
I work the waters below, close to the bank and structure. As I am turning to move on a little (5 inch) brookie grabs the fly – stream-bred for sure. I changed my emphasis to find more brookies and did, 3 more in different spots, all in the 5 – 7 inch range and beautiful.
I wanted a photo and let the fish lie in the net, in the water, while I stuck my rod in a bush and clumsily pulled out my phone. I struggled with getting it on, having to enter my code (fish slime on the home button isn’t good). Focusing on the fish and getting him to show himself among the netting proved difficult. He flipped out and I stood there feeling like a jerk.
What am I doing? Who is the photo for? I have plenty and will remember this guy with or without documentation. It hit me that I am fishing for the blog instead of for myself. I have been blogging for 6 and writing for more than 10 years. I enjoy the fishing and the writing, but I think this brookie was telling me it may be time to bring the blogging phase of my fishing life to a close so I can just enjoy the fishing.
No one is on the lower beats so I work the entrance to 6 and the trees on the far bank producing another brookie and a good hit but no fish in the net. I sweep the wide part of the river here which, in the past, has held fish you would not expect. Then I sent the Dace inshore. I was thinking of Clark who loved to annoy them into a strike. I stayed with a particular hole, under a bush, longer than I normally would and Wham! Thanks Clark.
Jerry liked this beat as well and my next one was for him. I sat on the Boy Scout Bench to rest and eat my PBJ, more tired than I would have expected. Sitting there, a fish appears in the troth in front of me. Then another, a bigger one, came up behind him. I finished my sandwich and, sitting where I was, flipped the Dace in and let it flounder through the hole, no tension on the line whatever. I see him turn and open his mouth, then turn back as I tightened the line very softly – Hooked!
A good day.
I fish down through 7 working the usual spots but no response. Walking back my legs are heavy and I am thinking of calling it a day, but decide to go back to mid-5 and look for those brookies. I should have just gone home. When you get tired it is hard to be as patient and careful as you need to be to catch fish on this river, even on 4 or upper 5.
So that’s it. End of Caleb Smith 2021. It is such a beautiful place to be.