Instead of lures or flies, we brought a pail of live bait, golden shiners. Trout won’t travel too far now that the water has become super-chilled and in order to entice them to bite, we need to put the most attractive offering possible right in front of their noses.
This requires fishing on or near bottom, something not always possible with flies or lures.
We fished our first spot, with no results. So then we decided to give another popular river a shot. And as expected on a nice, warm day, even one in January, fly-fishers were out in droves. The pools we wished to fish were jam-packed with fly casters, some wading (this is a small river and it is possible to cast all the way across it, no real need to wade) out in the middle of the pool.
Disgusted, I didn’t even take my rod out of the car. But Allen, undaunted, chose the only remaining spot on the river that wasn’t occupied by people with fly rods. Hooking on a live shiner, Allen dropped his offering down and almost immediately, got a bite. The fish got his bait without getting hooked, so he re-baited and this time he hooked the fish.
The fly-fisher, wading in the pool just upstream of the bridge, watched in obvious disgust, as Allen derricked his 12 ½- inch brook trout up to the pavement.
It all just goes to show that waders, fancy equipment, hundreds of fly patterns and everything else that goes along with it, don’t necessarily translate to a productive day on the water. Just ask my buddy Allen.
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An avid writer and naturalist, Tom writes four regular columns and a multitude of features. He wrote a long running award winning column "Waldo County Outdoors" and a garden column for Courier Publications