I'd been driving by a neglected stretch of river near my home for the past few weeks while on work assignments and kept thinking that I needed to get up and wet a line for trout there sometime. I noted that several stretches of river were nice big gravel bar runs and I visioned swinging these runs like I would for steelhead, even knowing there are no steelhead up this way.
My opportunity came today, with my grandson's morning soccer game to
watch and the afternoon available to drive to this new to me stretch of
river. With the mild conditions and with my twisted mind, I wondered if
I could skate some of those resident trout up to the surface. I had
some of my yellow stimulator colored foam skaters on hand and hoped that
the trout might mistake one for an early golden stone.
I started a the very top of a large gravel bar run and due to the wind, I
started off with my 11' 6wt Cabela's TLR switch with a 350 gr Ambush
head and mono leader setup. I had a small yellow stimulator "wang" on
the line and worked my way down. I was swinging the skater and
twitching it gently, just like I do for steelhead. By the time I was
about a quarter of the way down the run, I began to question my theory
that these resident trout would mistake my foam skater for a golden
stone on speed.
Just as I was about to change over to a bead head wooley bugger, a fish
attacked the fly and missed. It attacked and again and was on. Hey, my
theory worked. I landed this bright little rainbow and it didn't even
feel too over powered on my switch rod.
Just as I was hoping for more surface action, they sky darkened and some
rain came. I tied on a pair of wooley buggers and got several more
trout on a #8 black/olive bugger with copper bead. These fish grabbed
on the swing just like steelhead and a few of these fish were pulling
line from my clicker instantaneously on the grab - I was having fun!
The sun came back out and so did the skater and a few more surface grabs
and another nice rainbow came to hand on the yellow skater.
With the slow winter steelhead season I've been having, it was great to
actually be able to catch something and getting these resident trout on
the swing and on a skater to boot was refreshing. Discovering these
steelhead-like runs which hold nice resident trout will keep me occupied
until the local hatchery summer runs show up in fishable numbers.