Report: A tale of two trout trips

No two days spent fishing are ever the same. This is especially true when dealing with trout, for one reason or another. But it’s what keeps us coming back, time and time and frustrating time again.

Last week, we had a day that finally felt like Spring. I was thinking that the stocked trout might have felt the same and would be eager to eat one of my poorly tied flies.

As I pulled into the State forest, the sun shone bright and clear through the trees, reflecting off the reservoir and the little kettle ponds dotting the landscape. The air hung heavy with the smell of new growth and the expectations of a tug on the end of my fly line.

Down at the pond, the wind howled in tight circles, making glassy disturbances in the clear water. The pines swayed and danced.

Could be tough to cast into this wind. 

Casting Peters

But I didn’t want to worry about this small negative detail. I knew the trout were eating.

After untangling my leader (aren’t we always untangling a leader?) I made my first cast, trying my best to punch through the gusts, letting the woolly bugger sink to the bottom of the sandy pond.

“How’s it going,” a guy asked, trudging through the sand behind me. At that exact moment, my fly got whacked, and line peeled from my hand. “Better now,” he said, responding to his own question.

I played the fish (for a little bit longer than I should have, but I’m only a guy who hasn’t caught as many trout this spring as he’d like) and eventually got it to the net. It was a chunky rainbow, a very healthy specimen from the stocking tanks. I lowered the net and it swam off without hesitation.

With all pressure gone, I switched to a zonker pattern. Not ten minutes later, I was tight again, this time with a beautiful, dark brookie. I have to give credit to the guys and gals at the hatchery for the fish this year. We are getting shots at some beautiful fish this Spring.

Final tally was seven trout, two breakoffs, and four new tippets tied (wind knots).



There’s no other point when the urge to fish is greater, than when you wake up following a successful fishing outing. So, the next day, I skipped out of work a few hours early and set off to that exact same pond, expecting the exact same results.

Standing in the still water, on this particular afternoon, the pond looked totally different. The pines hung still and dense, the spring water black and complacent.

Fearing Pond

I ask this question to myself more than I care to admit: Can you love a pond. I know, that sounds lame and tacky but as I stepped into that cold, calm kettle pond, and pair of ducks flew by overhead, huffing with each wing flap, and as I glanced around the entire circumference of the pond and saw only one other fisherman, this was the thought that entered my mind. It was serene, calming–the embodiment of spring and the expectation that comes with it. Beautiful beyond words.

But, this is where the beauty ended. I spent the next three hours casting every fly in my box into the seemingly empty water. I walked back to the car–the walk of shame. Skunked. Humbled.

But this is why they call it fishin’, folks.


Billy Mitchell

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