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Further Up, Further In

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  • Further Up, Further In

    Came down with a case of....not the spotted fever, but the speckled fever over the last few weeks. I've had the brook trout blues as of late. I generally stay off the blue lines in the dead of winter like this when the fishing is nearly shut down, but I just couldn't help myself yesterday. It was too beautiful a day to ignore. We've had a streak of fairly warm days this week. I spent some time monitoring stream gauges on the rivers lower down over the last two days, and the water temps have been reasonable. I knew the water would be slightly colder higher up, but I suspected the small wild trout might be perky enough to play. Yesterday, I had time for a short trip, so I strung up the "small stream special", my trusty ol' 6' 2wt, and hit the creek. Made my way straight to the falls, and quickly up and over. I went in with the expectation of not catching a single fish, which is not unreasonable. Expectation management was the plan for the day.
    The first fish came almost immediately after I began fishing, and it was the largest of the day. It took a #20 BH WD-40 dropped about 12'' beneath an EHC. I'm guessing it was in the 8" ballpark, and had some sort of lesion on its eye, which is visible in the picture. It seemed otherwise healthy, and was obviously well fed. She had a gut!

    Throughout the afternoon, I caught two more specks, both about equal in size. Maybe something like 6". I lost several that came unhooked, including an itty bitty around 2"-3", and also lost a biggun' that went about 10". It was substantially larger than the biggest fish that I caught yesterday. Had several other missed strikes as well.
    All of the fish after the first one took, or attempted to take an olive BH Micro Mohair Leech I dropped beneath the EHC.
    It wasn't a banner day for numbers, but it was about the best you could expect for a February day on a tiny stream.

    I used to stay off these creeks during this time of year, but I believe targeting them during warm streaks like this is perfectly fine. For maybe five years now, and like a fool, I have been enjoying a certain blog online. If you've never come across it, it is called "Small Stream Reflections". I spend all winter reading the author's trip reports. He catches brook trout all winter long, usually multiple times per week on wet flies, nymphs, classic streamers, and occasionally dries as well. Often he is fishing nearly frozen blue lines in New England, and he still catches fish. I have been a fool in relishing his posts, yet not fishing blue lines in the dead of winter for myself. I will not make that mistake any longer, as yesterday proves that one can target these warm streaks and do reasonably well. It's always more than a pleasure to venture "further up, and further in".

    All in all, I was very happy with the time I spent on yesterday's thin blue line. It was good medicine for the soul, and I'll be out there soon again. Tight lines, folks!


    First fish of the day set the bar high!



    Right in the bread basket



    Gotta gut



    Secret Weapon



    A sight for sore eyes



    Micro mohair leech

  • #2
    Wow. That is one fat brookie! Thanks the blog recommendation. I will check it out.

    I did the same thing last weekend. Rainbows below the falls. Brookies above. Attached are my best of each species.
    Last edited by fishteeth; 06-08-18, 09:06 PM.

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    • #3
      Great report Kyle, we haven't had a blueline report in a while... and now you got me planning to hit my tried and true spot for those specks! Also, that first brookie is beautiful, surprised you got that size 20 in focus for the camera haha

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      • #4
        Glorious report, Kyle, and ... that blog is great. My sister taught in one of the private boarding schools out that way (northwestern Connecticut) years ago and I visited her a few times - there are some wonderful blue lines in the Berkshires (albeit not a great deal of public land) and many of the landowners were old school "knock and ask permission".

        As for us here ... weather report has this warm streak sticking around for a while, and bringing us silly amounts of rain over the next ten days. WXSouth tells me that most of north Georgia will receive 3 - 5 inches of rain with some spots clocking six and eight; followed by potential for blocking to settle in and deliver another period of cold air.

        My first blue-lining weekend cannot get here fast enough...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sighter View Post
          Great report Kyle, we haven't had a blueline report in a while... and now you got me planning to hit my tried and true spot for those specks! Also, that first brookie is beautiful, surprised you got that size 20 in focus for the camera haha
          Getting that fly in focus was more of a feat than you know, my friend. I was using the camera on my cheap straight talk phone. Getting a decent picture sometimes is no simple feat!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mudrun View Post
            Glorious report, Kyle, and ... that blog is great. My sister taught in one of the private boarding schools out that way (northwestern Connecticut) years ago and I visited her a few times - there are some wonderful blue lines in the Berkshires (albeit not a great deal of public land) and many of the landowners were old school "knock and ask permission".

            As for us here ... weather report has this warm streak sticking around for a while, and bringing us silly amounts of rain over the next ten days. WXSouth tells me that most of north Georgia will receive 3 - 5 inches of rain with some spots clocking six and eight; followed by potential for blocking to settle in and deliver another period of cold air.

            My first blue-lining weekend cannot get here fast enough...
            Thanks for the kind words mudrun! I would absolutely love to fish those small creeks there in Connecticut. I'll place that on my ever growing to-do list! That may come right after I get to hit the Driftless one of these days. As for the deluge of rain that is approaching, I'll likely not be found on the creeks then. I'll once again target the next warm, fair days, and try again.
            Hope you make it up this way sooner than later!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by fishteeth View Post
              Wow. That is one fat brookie! Thanks the blog recommendation. I will check it out.

              I did the same thing last weekend. Rainbows below the falls. Brookies above. Attached are my best of each species.
              Those are some great fish! What were the flies of the day, might I ask?
              Last edited by Killer Kyle; 02-09-18, 08:26 PM.

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              • #8
                Very cool post Kyle.
                I too read Small Stream Reflections regularly. There is a similar one from one of the author's friends called Fishing Small Streams that is good as well. I have always marveled at their ability with simple soft hackle flies on those streams.
                http://fishingsmallstreams.blogspot.com/
                Maybe we could hit up a blueline sometime.
                Regards
                - Jed Green

                "I will make you fishers of men" - Christ
                Bamboo rods, Clear streams, and old Jeeps

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dawg Vet View Post
                  Very cool post Kyle.
                  I too read Small Stream Reflections regularly. There is a similar one from one of the author's friends called Fishing Small Streams that is good as well. I have always marveled at their ability with simple soft hackle flies on those streams.
                  http://fishingsmallstreams.blogspot.com/
                  Maybe we could hit up a blueline sometime.
                  Regards
                  Their flies really do impress me as well. I have never checked out the Fishing Small Streams blog, and am just now about to! I love seeing his simple takes on flies. Many of which are or resemble tenkara flies. I also love seeing the author take small stream brookies on classic American streamers, and I enjoy his experimental patterns like the badger caddis which make both attractive as well as effective patterns. He really is a master fly tier.
                  I have always focused my tying on very simple and very effective patterns that I fish very confidently. I am inspired by many of his classic streamer stories, however, and resolve to fishing some of them one day for brook trout. Something about the thought of catching a speck on a Mickey Finn fly just hits me right in the "feels". At the current, my patience is limited at the tying bench, and I tend to make flies that I can make quickly, and in bulk.
                  You are ALWAYS welcome here dawgvet. Plenty of trout to go around for us all, and plenty of places to find them. Come on up!

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                  • #10
                    That looks so fun man! Any thought of chasing them with super mini mice? We should do it. I think Bbailes did it.

                    Boy a topwater strike from an 11" Brookie would be sick.
                    I like em big fat and sloppy.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by browniez View Post
                      That looks so fun man! Any thought of chasing them with super mini mice? We should do it. I think Bbailes did it.

                      Boy a topwater strike from an 11" Brookie would be sick.
                      I've thought about it more than you know. I have plenty of mice I tied up. I killed a cottontail, tanned it, and cut cross cut strips from it. The look of a mouse tied from real, wild cottontail is far superior to the crap you buy from the fly shop. My mice are far too big for brook trout, so I might have to kill and tan another soon to make some micro mouse patterns. You and I know that big bait equals big fish. Any old fly will catch any old speck, but the bigguns gotta eat. If I can manage to kill and tan another rabbit before small game season ends, I will cut and tie some micro mice and you can come up and try them with me. I think we would stand a very, very good chance of finding some bigger fish. Big is relative, of course!

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                      • #12
                        Great report.
                        I can attest to the micro mouse hypothesis. I got a nice, my biggest speck on a small foam and rabbit zonker mouse I tied way back when.
                        🐀eating 🐟 ... Perfect



                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                        • #13
                          Great report, Kyle, and great job getting out there and making it happen. I watch those N. Ga gages pretty closely, as well, and am counting the days to ~mid-March.
                          "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..." George Washington

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Killer Kyle View Post
                            Those are some great fish! What were the flies of the day, might I ask?
                            The thing I love about small stream fishing, my favorite fishing, is that the fly doesn't seem to matter nearly as much as presentation... and perhaps size. On these streams, I'm mainly a dry-dropper guy or sometimes a dry only. I'd rather catch fewer on top than more below. I got them on Adams and EHC on top and soft hackle or a beaded caddis pupa below. I threw some smallish wooly buggers through some deep holes to no avail.

                            Fishing was slowish, but I managed a few. The 10 inch rainbow surprised me. I've never caught any that big on this stream. And I've never caught a brookie that had a gut like yours!

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                            • #15
                              Awesome report and thank you for showing me that blog!

                              Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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