Everyone has some sort of ritual for their birthday. For me it’s required that I go stick at least one fish and today was no exception. Just three miles from the house there’s a small body of water that’s loaded with brookies. For me this one fish doesn’t have to be big, just pretty. Brook trout look about as nice as any fish in October with their spawning colors.
When I got to my spot there wasn’t an ounce of wind or a cloud as far as the eye could see. The Tetons were crisp and snow covered and all the hillsides were glowing with orange and gold aspen leaves. There were bugs on the water, mostly baetis and to my surprise there was also a drake of some sort. We have a fall drake we call the “Snake Drake” but usually their long gone by mid October. But this gorgeous mayfly would have to be him.
Despite perfect conditions there were few fish rising. Usually these scrappy little brook trout are splashing around everywhere during a good hatch but instead things were quiet. About then I heard the slurp of a cutthroat. That may sound funny but big cuttys make a slurping sound when they eat a small mayfly. The rings from their rise are micro and can easily go unnoticed, but the slurp is a dead give away for me. Even after the first slurp I couldn’t locate this fish. It wasn’t until his third that in the shade only inches from a tree branch I saw the nice cutthroat.
This wasn’t the brookie I set out for but he’d do. I grabbed a seat in the tall grass and watched. Every so often the cutty would swim a few feet from his cover and take one of the mayflies. That’s where I’d land my fly. After I got done enjoying his show I waded ever so slowly through the muck and weeds of the creek and got into position. Then I let him rise again and after that I uncorked my first cast. Bam! It was too easy. I had on a thorax blue wing olive pattern in a size 18 and Mr. Cutty couldn’t resist. After a good battle I landed and released a respectable 16 inch cutthroat. Then I took my seat in the grass again and lit a nice big cigar. My kind of birthday!