Today was almost certainly the last trip of the regular season for me.
I waited until it got above freezing this morning, then jumped into Soules Creek north of Wautoma. It felt cold because of the wind, but fortunately once I was in the river the banks and brush acted as a windbreak.
In parts, this creek is very narrow and sometimes deep, but it levels out every once in a while to twelve or even twenty feet wide. The water was clear, and I saw the whole process under the surface for almost every fish I caught. The biggest one hit the lure once and circled away, but I gave it a little extra wiggle and he came back and chomped down good. Another in a deeper pool chased the lure on two casts before I landed him on the third.
I caught a total of seven brown trout and enjoyed the fall scenery in its mosquito free state.
The only sad part of the day was driving by the “Closed for the Season” sign at Milty Wilty on the way home.
I decided to push it and try another after work trip, even though sunset is at 6:50 PM these days. I headed for a small stream that I’ve never fished before because it is close and it showed a hint of promise when I looked at the Google Maps satellite view.
Getting to the DNR lot was an adventure in itself. It involved a drive down a two rut track that had some pretty deep pot holes. For once I wished for a Jeep instead of my minivan.
This stream is on the books as hosting primarily brook trout, so that’s what I was expecting. The flow averages about seven feet wide and maybe two and a half feet deep.
I saw a few small trout early on, so I figured I would eventually catch some small brookies. In fact, the first fish I landed was a pretty little nine inch brook trout.
The next fish was quite a surprise. I thought it might be a giant brookie until I saw it was just one of the biggest brown trout for me this year. It was a thrill landing that one.
I totaled two browns and three brook trout before I was done. I saw quite a few more big browns but I wasn’t able to hook them.
Because this stream is so small, I don’t want to start a stampede of anglers. I’m going to keep its identity to myself and add it to my list of small streams that harbor some big trout.
I’m planning to mention in a TU presentation tomorrow that I caught my first trout on Radley Creek. Before doing that, I thought I better check to make sure there are still trout in that stream. So tonight after work I picked up where I left off on Radley last time.
Signs of autumn were around, with a few trees starting to turn. I caught the first fish after just a few casts. It’s nice to have the pressure off early in the trip.
I caught four brown trout and enjoyed what will probably be he last after work trip of the year.
We stayed camp on the same lake for the second day and night. After we completed a day hike from there to scout out some photographic vistas, I had lunch and headed to the shore for some more trout fishing.
Results were pretty consistent. I caught three nice brook trout again and the biggest was fourteen inches.
It was fun catching the brookies in such a clear lake. I could see them fighting underwater from the time I hooked them until I landed them.
That was the end of my fishing for this trip. We camped the final night on another lake that didn’t look very promising.
One of my favorite places to backpack is the Desolation Wilderness Area in California near Lake Tahoe. Last Wednesday I flew out for my fourth trip there, this time with my friend Mike Lerch.
The climb to our first camp was pretty grueling. But once there, we set things up including what we considered to be an award-worthy bear bag hang.
I fished the lake we were camped on before supper and caught three decent size brookies. The alpine lakes aren’t very fertile, so the fish grow pretty slowly. Anything over ten inches is exciting, especially because the trout are voracious and hit like a steam engine.
Starting at dawn this morning I fished a really remote section of Flume Creek. I made it to the river a little quicker than I have in this spot in past years. The right-of-way is a non-obvious 16.5 foot wide track of woods that makes a right angle bend after about a quarter of a mile. Thankfully, someone had marked some of the hard parts with yellow surveyor tape on occasional trees this year. I spent less time lost in the swamp than I usually do.
I always rely on this river to get my catch counts up for the year, and it did not disappoint today. I caught 29 brook trout and two browns. At the end of the morning when I got back to where I started the GPS showed that I had travelled a total of four miles.
After work today, I could definitely tell that the nights are getting shorter. But the good news was no bug spray was required for the first time since summer started.
I covered an upstream section of the West Branch of the White River. It might be the last section I cover this year. The good thing about the West Branch is that even when you don’t land a fish you still learn something, because the water is so clear you can see every movement the trout make.
The other unique thing about the West Branch is the possibility of catching brookies, browns, and bows all in the same place. And that is what I did tonight – four browns, two rainbows, and one brook trout.
The days are getting shorter and the mosquitoes are getting sparser. Fall is on the way!
It was a nice night to tackle another section of the Mecan River after work. As usual, the river was beautiful. The only challenge was wading, because the water was so clear it was hard to tell if the next step was going to be two feet deep or four feet deep. Most of the fishing was by sight – I could see the trout and they could see me. Under those conditions, you only get one chance to put the lure where you want. The fish don’t allow second tries.
I caught fourteen brown trout and hiked and waded exactly one mile according to the GPS.
Last Wednesday after work I covered a truly beautiful section of the West Branch of the White River. It’s not an especially trouty stretch, but it’s so pretty it’s fun to fish anyway. The river meanders back and forth with frequent deep bends.
The weather was nice, and I fished until it started to get dark, catching four small browns.
Unfortunately, on the way out, I dropped my phone in the brush. When I noticed it was gone, I backtracked and tried to find it, to no avail. I was on the verge of giving up when I got an idea.
I had another phone in the car, but it was a mile away, and I knew I couldn’t find my way back to the right spot in the woods after it got really dark. So, I took my small flashlight out of my vest, turned it on, and set it on a stump. Then, I hiked out to the road and high tailed it to the car. When I drove back with my other phone, I could see the flashlight in the distance as I hiked back into the woods.
After about three calls, I finally heard the ring of my lost phone and retrieved it from the ground under some tall grass. Mission accomplished.
After all that, it was pretty late when I got home. I was still tired when I got up the next morning to catch an early flight to New Hampshire. From now on, the phone will go into a zipped pocket!