The weather finally turned for the better today, Memorial Day, 2021 in Slate Run. The night was cool and the morning skies were clear. It turned into a beautiful day – the sort you live for when you come here.
We started a fire in the campfire ring early today. We wanted to eat early and possibly snack and watch something on TV later. So I started a fire early – around 2pm. With all the rain that we got the previous days I thought it may be a challenge to get a fire going. One match, enough small twigs and enough pine bark that has been sloughing off of the big pine tree we had taken down several years ago, all helped to establish the fire. There was a fair amount of smoke produced early in the fire – I hope I didn’t ‘smoke-out’ the neighbors too much.
We roasted a few hotdogs and the wife had made baked beans – typical fare with some Middleswarth Bar-b-Que potato chips, hummus and sliced pepper and cucumbers that rounded out the feast.
I am going to share a story about a fish I caught just about 3 years ago here – bear with me, it’ll relate as this post evolves.
June 5, 2018: The Orange Trout
We had just bought the property and I decided to ‘fish out front’. I position myself to present a fly to various fish that rose that evening. Around 7:40PM I see a fish rise, take something on the surface, and slip back to it’s holding station. The fish does this in a somewhat regular fashion as I work my way to better present my offering. The fish is shockingly colored in my opinion. I’ve seen many brown trout with various golden hues, but this fish was distinctly orange! I can’t believe that I am seeing such a fish break the surface to feed on a fly. I get into position and cast no more than 2 or 3 times when it struck. I was using a Iso emerger sort of pattern and managed to catch what I have come to call ‘Orange Trout’.
June 6, 2018
I come back the next evening and I can NOT believe that I see the same fish rising at the same spot! I figure, why not try the same fly – an Iso emerger.
I could not believe that I caught the same fish, in the same place, on the same fly, on two consecutive nights! But I did!
SOOT – You’ll see what it stands for below
Flash forward to May 31, 2021 – after our little Memorial Day cookout.
After seeing some fish get a little more active, I decided to go out front and give them a try. There were a few rising and I threw at them what I had fished and worked earlier in the day – but they were having nothing to do with it now. I saw a few Green Drake spinners skimming the water surface – that didn’t work. I saw an occasional Grey Fox sort of fly, that didn’t work. I had been seeing a few large , most likely, Golden Stone flies, that didn’t work. Well, this was getting slightly discouraging. But time was on my side – the evening was young. It had been a beautiful day in Slate Run and the evening was following the same suit.
Fish had risen but weren’t cooperating satisfactorily in my opinion. They weren’t clamping down on any of my offers and checking into the net hotel. I have been mulling this phrase over and over in my head for the past several weeks: “Give the fish what THEY want, not what YOU THINK they want or what YOU think they should be taking”. I shuffle through several flies getting rejections or just total indifference. There were a few more Coffin Flies floating past so I try it once again – no luck! I finally decide to try a light yellow colored emerger sort of pattern and get some interest!
A couple of times during the evening’s fishing some guy upstream from me caught a fish or two and each time he caught one he shouted at the top of his lungs: “THAT’S PLANCKNOW – P-L-A-N-C-K-N-O-W”! Plancknow? He spelled it out for all those of us fishing out there. I’m in the middle of Pine Creek and I’ll be darned if I can plank here or anywhere near here as I’m out here fishing! But I digress… (J.P. – 😉 we’ll see you June 12 J.P. eh? )
Since I was having much more interest, momentary hook-ups and even bringing some fish to net and hand – I stick with the ‘Pale Rider’ – the pale yellow emerger for the rest of the evening.
Then, late into the evening I hook into a fish that rolls a few times and I can see that it’s color is especially orange! I could tell it was a heavy fish and knew not to horse it around too much. I really wanted to bring this fish to net and hand! It didn’t particularly fight with as much vigor as some I’ve caught that were probably a little smaller – but it was so heavy that it put a strain on the tippet, leader, the rod and my hand and arm. After what felt like a long time (actual time was probably 50% less), I brought it to net. Mr. ‘Plancknow’ had waded down to me to see the fish – I did have a witness on this one. I held the fish to the net opening and estimated it was between 19″ – 20″.
This fish is/was so similar to the coloration of the fish I caught 3 years ago. I am not claiming that it is the same fish. There is no way that would be possible in my opinion. It was such a vivid orange color underneath – I could not believe my eyes. Not trying to brag here but this was an impressive fish.
June 1, 2020
My wife leaves in the morning and I scan the crick to see whats happening. Some fish are rising. Hmmm do I fish or get busy with chores? Answer: fish!
I catch a fish on the emerger that I caught the Son of Orange Trout on the evening before – fairly quickly.
Suddenly the fish that are rising are refusing the emerger! I am perplexed! What was just working, is no longer the trout’s choice! I saw refusals – more than one and when you see that, you must change up your fly offerings or you will continue to be frustrated!
I finally figured out that a small Blue Winged Olive must have been introduced into the smorgasbord for the trout dinning experience. I tie on a size 18 BWO Compara dun/Sparkle Dun I tied some years ago. I either miss a couple or get temporary hook-ups. I continue to use the Sparkle Dun. Eventually I switch over to the same size parachute BWO. I start to catch a few fish! Then…
I hook into a nice fish – it’s Son Of Orange Trout – on consecutive days, with a different fly and in a different location than the evening before.
It might be a little difficult to compare the photos here, but I looked at the original high resolution images and the spotting on the trout’s cheek, in my opinion, match the fish I caught the evening before!
Returned safely to Pine creek, hopefully someone else can enjoy catching this fish before it perishes.
Below I cropped and zoomed in on the 5-31 image to compare it to the 6-1 image. This shows what I think are the identifying markings on the fish’s cheek that prove it’s the same fish.
Those kidney-shaped spots – what do you think folks? I believe it’s the same fish!
Two fish, almost 3 years to the day apart, caught on consecutive days with a very similarly colored fish – it’s coincidence for certain but I am rather enjoying it.
Till we see each other again… UB