All spring — all that dirty, cold water spring — I waited for a morning like yesterday.  A clear, weedy Au Sable with trout scattering from the boat shadow, podded up on tricos, eating tiny nymphs in the drop-offs suspended from a small dry via 8x fluoro.  We didn’t catch anything big — you rarely do on sunny August days — though one nice brown did chase a small streamer across a gravel flat, and a few more ate the nymph and shook quickly free.

Rebecca’s first trout ever!

It’s been a great week with three dozen kids hitting the river on Saturday morning for the Kids One Fly (Box) Challenge, and a clear, cold Midnight Derby that kept us up late and offered a few good fish stories and, I think, a record fundraising haul for the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

First trout ever!  

Later that morning: seasoned pro

This is time of year, the day has two halves.  Sun up: fine tippets, and tricky, technical, fun fishing.  The tricos start the day, and then the trout will switch to the very last of the BWOs.  By late morning, I like a dry and dropper on a long leader drifted absolutely drag-free along the logs, shelves, and behind the weed bunches.  The afternoon is hoppers, deer flies, and attractors.  The evening is a maddening mix of small caddis, tiny BWOs, a few #18 BWOs, and cahills.  You can break up this evening hatch and get very technical, reading the riseforms and having fun over pods of small trout.  Or you can cover some water and hit the wood with the August caddis, which is a size 12 banger that floats well and is easy to see right thru dusk.  Mix in some small streamers in these unseasonably cool water temps, and it’s a nice mix of conditions.

Joetta with a nice daytime brown

At night, we’re swinging big flies for big trout.  This is fun, simple work that relies as much on stealth as fly choice…but fly choice does matter.

Katrina stayed warm by catching big trout

But more than anything, I think the next month is the time to try to discover something new.  Last night Denny and I sacrificed a perfectly good night exploring a hunch and it didn’t pan out.  Sometimes they don’t.   But this spring I found a little secret, and it was such a good little secret, that my next spring’s fishing plans are going to be much different.  Before this summer runs out, I’ve got a few patches in mind, a few new flies to try, a few new techniques that exist right now only in theory.  The only risk to such exploration is that you won’t catch a trout.  The reward, though, is the most valuable and sacred thing in fishing: the secret.