Report: The other holdovers

I went out Monday in search of the “other” holdovers that exist within our geographical fishing sphere–the kind that eat bugs and hooks dressed up to look like bugs (if tied correctly on a size 18 hook).

Yes, I’m talking about holdover trout. We consider holdover trout the fish that survive between trout stockings. It’s not always a put-and-take fishery, as it’s so often described. In some Cape and off-Cape kettle ponds, stocked trout do hold over between stockings. These fish have managed to adapt to the natural world after spending their entire early life in a cylindrical holding tank eating pellets. Based on the size of some of them. they not only survive, but thrive.

There are challenges to catching these fish. These are the smart ones. These aren’t the ones that fell for a San Juan worm or three blobs of power bait right off the boat ramp the day after they were dumped out of the net. These are fish accustomed to the wild, and this makes them all the more challenging to catch.

On Monday, I decided to enjoy the unseasonably warm temps, and head to a Kettle Pond on-Cape that’s known to hold a population of thriving holdover trout.

File Mar 02, 3 22 50 PM

Being a Monday, and being at least a week before the stocking trucks would make their appearance at the water’s edge, I expected to be one of only a few who would make the trek. Boy, was I wrong. It was packed.
The air held the slightest hint of warm–and it was even pleasant when the wind stopped blowing. But I quickly realized I wouldn’t be so lucky. I walked down to the water from the parking lot and a gust of wind nearly blew me off my feet.

I walked to the North side of the cove, thinking the wind would be at my back. After a few casts, I quickly realized that the wind seemed to be blowing from every direction, swirling around the cove. If you’re not familiar with the sport, these are not the greatest conditions to be casting a fly.

I eventually got one hit in that location, but missed the set. On the other side of the pond, I chatted with a few of the other guys fly fishing, and they, too, cursed the wind. We confirmed that the fishing was slow, the wind sucked, wind knots sucked even more, but that it was a beautiful day regardless, and it felt good to be wading through a kettle pond again, even if the water was 38 degrees.


Final count was: 2 missed fish, 0 connections, 9 lost flies.

But this is why they call it fishing folks. I can confirm, however, based on multiple conversations with anglers that day, that the bite was hot the day before. Day late, dollar short. Hey, at least it’s March. It’s good to get the skunk out early.

Billy Mitchell

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