Sometimes I wonder why I go to the lengths that I do to catch fish when there are so many options so close to home. Beyond that sometimes I just flat out just wonder why I don't listen to my better judgment more often. This was definitely one of those times. Having the day off and with streams finally open, I decided that I wanted to try out a small stream up in the Cascades for some native rainbow trout. When I left home the weather was beautiful and all I could think of was casting my 2wt to some willing fish. However mother nature had other plans...
As I drove past the countless clear cuts and closed in on the stream I could see some dark clouds in the distance, but just figured that they would either be blown to the east or just hangout over the Cascade crest. Of course even when I got out of the car and heard the distant roar of thunder I didn't for a second contemplate bagging it and heading to another spot.
I had never fished this stream and actually wasn't planning on it as I was initially on my way to a bigger piece of water and it just caught my eye and I couldn't pass it up. This sudden interest in this little creek was only increase by masses of size 10 brown mayflies flying around at the road crossing.
The creek as it flows through a little grove of alders
I rigged up and made my way upstream casting a dry and nymph dropper rig in every piece of likely looking holding water. It took about a 1/4 mile of vacant water before I finally found a great little pool and finally caught a small 6" rainbow on my nymph. As I let this fish go the warning signs that I ignored finally caught up with me and the rain started. I was far enough upstream that I wasn't going to turn around for a "little" rain. I figured that this rain would most likely pass through the area quickly and some nicer weather would return. So as the rain got increasingly worse I continued to fish and did manage pick up another small rainbow. I had just found a great pool with a downed tree across the middle and a decent sized fish in front of it, when the "little" bit of rain turned into a torrential downpour. This had the effect of spooking all of the fish in the creek, turning the previously clear creek into chocolate milk (I am sure that the local logging practices had nothing to do with this one), and completely drenching me with in seconds. By the time that I got back to the car, the water in the creek was up a foot and I felt like I had been on the losing end of a massive water war.
Soaked I finally threw in the towel and made my way back home, with the rainstorm chasing me all of the way to the foothills of the Cascades ensuring that I wouldn't make any unscheduled stops to check out any more streams. Once back in the Puget Sound low lands it was still sunny and in the upper 70's and you never would have known that pouring in the mountains.
I got home and started unloading my soaking gear from the car, but when I got to my rod which was still rigged up from my hasty retreat from the Cascades, I decided that I might as well go try a local stream that is walking distance from home and see if I couldn't catch a few fish.
This was the part that made me really wonder why I drove all of the way up to the mountains for a couple small fish and a thorough soaking. On my first cast I was rewarded with a beautiful little cutthroat in a creek that is as good as in my backyard.
Not to big but still loads of fun on a light rod and dry flies
By no means did the action stop there either and for the next hour or so I covered the water with my dry fly, catching fish on most every cast.
Each of these pools were good for a fish or two.
The fish here started out very receptive to a dead drift, but as they started to shy away from that I began skating my fly and they went crazy for it again. I found that if I would strip it a few times then pause it a cutthroat would dart out of the shadows and pounce on it at once.
Beautiful native coastal cutthroat
This was one of those times were size didn't mean a thing to me. The coloration on these little cutthroat was stunning and and the relaxation brought by small streams and small willing fish has a value all of its own.