Kevin's Secret Spot

by Kevin Duren

I went fishing the other day. The place is not secret. In fact, it is public. Fishing stories are better if there is a secret spot, so, in the effort to improve this story, I’m keeping this one secret.

It is a popular place to fish for stocked trout in the winter. What saves it for me, is there are some areas that are difficult to get to and difficult to wade, so they get no pressure. Large trout hang out in the heavy water; the places that conventional knowledge says will be barren. These are great places for trout (and fishermen) to avoid fishermen.

It is a spot that I fish often and have the most success swinging a large Clouser minnow with a bunch of lead on my leader right through the heaviest water. Not very subtle, but the trout are big. When you hook these fish, they are already downstream from you and that gives them a significant advantage.

I tied on a large Clouser from one of my saltwater boxes and pinched on four split shot. I got in way upstream because downstream is the only way this water can be worked. I worked my way down swinging the streamer in front of me. It was windy, so all that lead actually helped the cast. Cast, swing, … take two steps, repeat. It is not as boring as you would think, because sometimes it’s slip, curse, twirl around, get the bottom of your vest wet, and hope no one saw you. And there is the distraction of the large hawks overhead.

When I reached the top of the third stretch of rapids with out a bump, my confidence flagged and I changed to a black wooly bugger. Heavy. About halfway down this stretch of really rough water, the fly stopped in that way that seemed like it snagged on something. I lifted the rod and the snag wiggled. Awesome! Now I was being pushed and pulled downstream. It took a minute to land the rainbow, what with the slips, twirls, and curses.

Nice fish. I didn’t realize they stocked them this size. I turned him on his back to remove the fly and…what?! The roof of his mouth was covered with olive midge larva. From gullet to lip. Hundreds. Cool! I stuck my finger in to collect some. There were a few smaller reddish-brown larva, but the vast majority were olive.

Some fly fisherman I am, matching a midge drift with a size 8 black wooly bugger.
I worked the rest of that stretch carefully and moved to the next. This spot was interesting. A hard rip coming down the far bank with an eddy between it and me. I cast across the eddy and nymphed through the rip. High-sticking. At the end of the drift, the line swung into the eddy. As it came to rest, there was a thump. Yes!

You know the feeling.

The fish rolled and hey, hey, this fish was obviously larger that the first one. But it is a buttery-golden-brown color….a brown trout! I had heard that they were going to stock some browns this year. And this was a good fish. Wow! This was a fish of the size that doesn’t wiggle; it flexes. Whump, whump, whump. I wanted to see her up close. Brown trout are beautiful. After a few minutes (ok, several seconds), I got her close and … no way! It’s a smallie! Another very pretty fish. Had I ever heard of anyone catching a smallie here? Wow, I can’t wait to tell someone. Are smallies stocked here? I’d bet this fish has been in the river a while.

The markings on her face make her look like a fighter plane with war paint on. I lipped her and took a closer look...This fish was full of black wooly buggers.

Note: Kevin Duren is a longtime member and past president of CTFF, who like the rest of us loves to fish... well that and tell fish stories.

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