2-21-04 - Triple Slam Trout Mojo on a new rod...
Waters Fished: Spring Branch, Maquoketa River
Fish Caught: didn't keep track...there were many
Outing Date: 2-21-04
Air Temp: Around 34F dropping to around 29F.
Water Temp: Spring Branch = 44F, Maquoketa = 42F
Water Level: Up
Water Color: Heavily Stained
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Tucker
Nymph, Griffith's Gnat, Micro Jig in Black & Yellow, Travirsen
Pattern Color: as per pattern
Fishing Quality: MIXED
Well I promised you all pics this week, and there
were only a few weeks I was going to get them...drive to Sheboygan
(kinda far), have my camera shipped (kinda risky) or meet up with
Chiro, have him bring the camera, and do some fishin!
Well, due to the weather, Chiro showed up at the
LC house early, as in a DAY early! Friday night we got together
and did some rod building and fly tying; after some recent reports
about big trout eating little trout (nothing new) I had been thinking
about all the big trout I had seen in Spring Branch...I had also
been thinking how Spring Branch is entirely Put & Grow....which
got me thinking...I needed a baby brookie streamer! Well, Chiro
and put our heads together and with the materials at hand we devised
the Travirsen Brookie...more on this later.
Despite getting up "early" we were still
behind schedule, pulling into Walmart to meet up with FAT &
the boys around 10:00. After everyone had their licenses, we headed
straight out for Spring Branch, were RCochran was waiting. Along
the way I let Chiro take the wheel...I'm sitting shotgun looking
at my Iowa map (which is now in two pieces). My window is cracked
no more than an inch to evacuate the smoke from my cigarette...I'm
lookin' at the map...there's a loud FWRAP...and I'm now looking
at my feet...where the HELL IS THE MAP?!?!?! Chiro is laughing hysterically
and that's when it hits me; 50% of my Iowa map has just been sucked
out my window! We were both in tears before finally gathering ourselves
and focusing back at the task at hand...going fishing!
As we pull up around 11:00 am there's this guy
standing right by the hatchery with his rod doubled over...I'm thinking,
"I know that type or rod bend, that's a BIG FISH bend!"
Sure enough, there was Randy who landed a 19" brown just as
we walked up!
Well we wasted no time getting on the water! "Let
the Catching Begin!" In no time Chiro picked up a brookie!
I struggled a bit as I was targeting a large brown I had seen holding
last week. The water in Spring Branch was heavily stained from the
snow melt; I went at it with the Travirsen Brookie until snapping
it off...then hit the run for a while with a black & yellow
micro jig...but again no luck!
Fat was working upstream, and Chiro continued to
head downstream, so for a while Randy and I bumped around until
finding a pool full of willing biters! I got my first brookie of
the day (Tucker Nymph as always) while Randy opted for the Dry Fly...a
Griffith's Gnat. Man in no time we had landed several fish; it made
shooting the video a snap (1 minute of video was all it took to
capture the entire 3-4 casts, the bite, and the 3 landing attempts!).
All the while there was a larger brown holding
in an eddy...an early attempt had gotten a follow but now take...I
was ready to try again. Excellent presentations didn't spook the
brown, but they didn't get his attention either. Patience would
win this game; as the brown chased a brookie in a territorial display,
it then turned to whack the Tucker Nymph! WOW...talk about fun!
This would be the only fish that I felt I truly NEEDED a net for....turned
out to be a spawned out 13" brown hen....a nice prize all the
Randy had shown me some great action, but almost
too easy, so we left that pool alone. However, we did tell FAT what
was going on and where, considering he was out with the boys it
was the perfect spot (I hear they all got several fish).
I worked downstream and bumped into Chiro, who
now had a couple more fish under his belt too. I set up a position
just downstream from where he had been fishing while he bumped down
to the riffles below. For our efforts I had one LARGE bulge that
took off with my Tucker Nymph (must have been a BIG fish), while
Chiro picked up a few more Brookies and a Rainbow in the riffles!
Rcochran came down, and we decided to move further.
Seeing as Spring Branch is "one of [Rcochran's]
fave' streams" we opted to let him play guide as he showed
us the various pools and runs downstream from the Hatchery. We set
up on a pool for a while; I managed a small brown (quickly released,
sans photo...no need) while Rcochran and Chiro were chasing some
risers a bit further down. After a short while I opted to head back
up to see what FAT was up to, but first I stopped to take another
crack at that large bulging fish that I had lost earlier (I wanted
my NYMPH back...I was already down 3 for the day!).
I came back to find that FAT had pulled the Houdini!
No trace whatsoever. So instead I kept fishing...I worked a small
pool that looked to only be holding brookies! I probably had every
fish bite the Tucker Nymph...lost most due to tight quarters that
prevented a good hookset (had my best luck sightfishing and stripping
in the slack to set the hook!).
It was then, just as I thought I had gotten my
chance at every fish in the pool, that a smaller fish slammed my
Tucker Nymph with gusto! Upon landing imagine my surprise when I
found that I had just completed the Triple Slam with an 8"
Towards 2:00 we got lunch and people started showing
up in droves...good weather does that I think! After lunch I took
Chiro to the lucky hole for some of the "you gotta see it to
believe it action". Turns out he had done well downstream.
To quote Chiro, "Well, I took off the Tucker Nymph...."
and I stopped him mid-sentence.
"You TOOK OFF the Tucker Nymph? WHY?!" I queried.
"It was getting TOO EASY" chuckled Chiro. "I put
on that Brookie pattern and got a brookie and a couple nice browns!"
I think he said the largest was 16"....in any case I think
I may have to post up the recipe for that Travirsen Brookie!
So I sat on shore, shot some video and pictures,
all the while watching as fish after fish slammed Chiro's offering
(I think he was back to the Tucker Nymph). From his location he
really couldn't see into the pool, and the strange eddy does weird
things with your line (like putting slack in it so you can't feel
your strikes)....we joked later about the constant, incessant "SET
THE HOOK, SET THE HOOK" being shouted from the bank by me.
On my first trip to Spring Branch I hadn't bothered
to check out the Manchester Hatchery...imagine my surprise as I
walked in to find out that it was full of broodstock (and only then
did I recall that Manchester is where the NORMALLY keep the broodstock)!
Shot a ton of video, but for some reason I neglected to get video
of the HUGE brookie broodstock....man Chiro and I were DROOLING
over those. The worst part, none of the pics turned out terribly
well either 'cause I hadn't though to override the automatic ISO
settings...lots of blurry fish pictures!
As sunset loomed we opted to head to one more stream...not
sure what it was going to be but we settled on a new one to all
of us, Maquoketa River...maybe 15-20 minutes away from Spring Branch.
When we pulled up I took the cursory look over
the bridge and sighted nothing. Maquoketa was also stained, but
nowhere near as much as Spring Branch had become throughout the
day (when we left Spring Branch it looked like dark coffee).
Chiro vanished like a Ninja upstream, while Rcochran
and I headed downstream of the bridge...it looked kinda promising...maybe.
We worked our way downstream to a large pool, then turning around
to come back up. As we headed back in the dwindling daylight, I
spotted risers in the flat water. I cast and cast until I fouled
my line...alright I'm out for the day. I watch on as RCochran worked
it hard to get a bite from one of the risers...whatever they were
we were determined to find out. Just as I made it back to the top
of the bridge, Randy shouts 'I figured out what those risers are"
as he held up a 3" creek chub!
Well, there's not much else to say other than this
was a great day out with some great new fishin' buddies and we all
learned something from each other. It is worthwhile to note that
we ALL walked away from Spring Branch with the Triple Slame. I'm
looking forward to fishing with both RCochran and Chiro again!