I rigged up a Suntech Kurenai HM30R (9 ft 7 inches) with 9 ft of #3 line, about 3 ft of 5x tippet, and a #12 Pass Lake wet fly. The HMR30 weighs less than 1 ounce and makes smaller fish incredibly sporty. It's a "cult classic" rod that has earned it a reputation as a small stream "magic wand". The action is soft and dynamic...it's one of only a few rods that equate to a "point and click" casting experience.
Having slipped quietly into the stream bed, it was time to fish. The water was gin clear, with lots of good limestone structure. In some places it opened up to 10 ft but mostly the stream runs about 3 ft wide and 15 inches deep, with depth maxing out at 3 ft in just a few places. Despite being sunny, I was able to move in and out of casting positions relatively easily, staying low as I worked upstream, and close to the banks to disguise my presence. I like to try and keep my rod low as I move through water like this, and keep it over my shoulder pointed backward so I can transition directly into a cast from the stalk. Sometimes that one, first cast is all you get before the fish spook - have to make it count!
I was expecting Brook trout, but got into Browns almost immediately. The fish were active and on the feed. I fished the pass Lake in the top few inches of the water, and they would dash out of cover to nail it, usually just as it hit the film. Strangely, I only got into brook trout on the lowest sections of the stream, and only a few of them at that - the browns seem to have rule in this creek. No matter, they were plentiful, hungry, and biting in good numbers. What surprised me was that most of the fish were closer to 10 inches than 6! I even got into a couple full 12 inchers. There were several fish I had to go "two hands on the grip" for because they broke for the undercuts SO fast. The softer action on the HMR30 made these fish into serious contenders, I enjoyed a handful of fierce battles as the fish tried to bunker up in an undercut and I did my best to stop them. It was laugh-out-loud fun!
All told I had over 30 trout on the hook and brought most of them to hand - in about 4/5 mile of small water. It's hard to beat a fishing experience THAT good so close to where you stay. While I wanted more, I needed to get ready for fishing the next day- I was to link up with a few friends to fish the next morning. In the next post, we'll cover a great day of fishing with a couple friends who made a 7 hour drive one way to enjoy a few days of tenkara rod fishing in the Driftless.
Catch you soon -
Matt @ Badger