Norfork Tailwater

On my own . . .

Posted by John Berry on October 11th, 2014
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I really don’t get much of a chance to fish on my own. On my days off from guiding, I usually fish with my wife, Lori, or with a fellow guide or fishing buddy. On days when I used to fish on my own, I would take my yellow lab, Ellie with me. She was a well mannered perfect fishing companion. After she passed away, we obtained Tilley, another yellow lab. She is a bright, beautiful and exuberant dog but not mature enough for me to take fishing with me. Lori works with her every day but she is still not ready to accompany me.

I decided to fish on my own. I really enjoy a bit of solitude on stream. It allows me to fish at my own pace and gives me a chance to enjoy being out there on trout water. I chose the Norfork as it was to be wadable until about 2:00 PM. The plan was for me to wake up early and be on the water at sunrise. In a surprising move, I slept in until 6:00 AM. By the time I showered and stopped by McDonalds for a quick breakfast, it was nearly 8:00 AM, before I was on the water. There was a dense fog on the water and I was surprised to see how few cars were in the parking lot.

I waded far from the access and began fishing. I started with the fly selection from my previous trip that was still on my rod, a western pink lady grasshopper with a ruby midge dropper. I was immediately into fish. I caught five quick trout on the ruby midge in a matter of minutes.

I moved further out into the stream where the water was deeper and faster. I took a couple of minutes to rerig my line. I clipped off the hopper and dropper. I tied on a flashback beadhead pheasant tail nymph with a ruby midge dropper under a strike indicator and a bit of lead. I took several nice trout and slowly fished downstream. I eventually tired of that spot.

I looked around for some new water. I noted a favorite run upstream but I noticed that another angler was fishing nearby. I decided to walk up there and see if there was room for me to fish. When I got up there I introduced myself to Scott and asked if it was acceptable for me to fish behind him. He said sure and we struck up a conversation. We had both done well that morning. He had lost his last ruby midge and I gave him one of mine.

I moved upstream and made sure that I was far enough from Scott to not interfere with his fishing. I was into a nice trout almost immediately. About that time, I noticed Scott’s rod bent. He called out that it was a big brown and began moving it into calmer water. I asked if he wanted a photo and he said that he did. I landed my sixteen inch rainbow, as quickly as I could and waded over to the bank, where Scott had just landed the twenty three inch chunky male brown trout. I took a couple of pictures. Scott pulled out his IPhone and sent me his email address, so I could send him the pictures, when I got home.

I caught several nice trout in that run but nothing like the big brown. Most of the fish were on the ruby midge but I landed six on the pheasant tail nymph. I was fishing a very short line and on one drift the leader got a bit too close to my cigar. It quickly burned my leader and I lost my rig. It was a brand new leader and I was a bit disappointed with myself. I calmed down and remembered that I was there to enjoy a day on the river. I tied on a section of 4X tippet and a grasshopper with a ruby midge dropper.

By this time Scott had waded out and I decided to fish my way out. It was starting to heat up and I had some errands to run that afternoon. As I worked down I was surprised at how many fish I caught on the dropper and even managed to catch a couple on the hopper, which was a big thrill.

Finally it was time to head out. I walked back to my car and stored my gear and waders. I had enjoyed the day and met a new friend. Life is good!

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