Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grannom Disappointment

A few grannom caddis landed on my waders as I sat on the bank tying 6X tippet onto the end of my leader. Their black, tent-like wings covered their bodies as they waddled across my pant leg. A gust of wind came from downriver and the caddis were gone. A few more skittered across the water and a small brown trout rose out of the tail of the run, inhaled one caddis and then quickly returned to its hiding spot below.

I remain mesmerized by the cycle of nymphs emerging from the river bottom, rising to the surface and then disappearing into a trout's ring. This circle of life experience is quite distant from the  adrenaline rush of a screaming reel trying to hold back a racing steelhead. Distant but equally valued, and after months of chasing steel I was ready for the slower pace of a quiet trout stream.

The guys at the Neshannock Creek Outfitters had promised a sporadic hatch and my hopes increased that I would get to experience more of the "on" than the "off" of the day's hatch. I tied on a size 16 caddis with a black body to match the grannom. I roll casted into the tail of the run and within the first few casts had hooked and landed a brown trout and watched a very large rainbow rise twice. I'm not sure what happened next. The gray clouds, instead of parting as the Weather Channel had predicted, sank lower. The wind blew the few caddis in the air off the water. And that was it. After less than 15 minutes the hatch was done. Sporadic indeed. I didn't see another caddis all day. I did see several fish, hooked on nymphs, not dries. The day's early promise turned to disappointment. The memory of that single brown rising from the depths to inhale the fly on the end of my tippet will have to do until it is replaced by screaming reels.

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