That uneasy feeling stems from me constantly watching the weather, and in that I knew another northern front was headed our way and expected to arrive on Friday. If a fellow didn't get to the river on this day, then it might be a week or better before conditions improved.
Shortly after the lunch hour it became more than I could bear and I informed my young boss I would be taking a very long lunch break. I assured him, however, that my return to the store would be imminent and he should not worry his young self. My mad dash to the river was on.
Of course I just wanted, and needed, some river time. But, there was another reason I wanted to hit the Blue and see if the bows were frisky... or not. On Sunday, I had fair success with the Frenchie fly pattern and all this time the question on my mind asked if this pattern's performance was a fluke or real deal?
Wednesday night I churned out a bit more than a gaggle of Frenchie patterns in sizes 14 and 16 of the colors pink, chartreuse, and olive. This pattern calls for ice dubbing for the thorax, but due to my fly tying material inventory under some kind of austerity currently I used rabbit fur. On Sunday, the rabbit fur didn't seem to matter at all to the trout - they seem to rather like it.
I think fly tying is a marriage between the tyer and material. As a tyer, I should never let myself become divorced from the vital materials needed. Besides, this philosophy I carry is also a good excuse to go out and buy more stuff.
I arrived at the river at almost exactly 2 p.m. It was, for the most part, overcast with the sun making sporadic and feeble attempts to break through the soup in the sky. The wind was solid and unrelenting straight out of the south. The temperature was comfortable, even with the wind. The river today was a pretty as I have ever seen her. She is still showing that unique emerald hue, clear as a bell in most places, and today the river just looked fresh. However, I am sad to report the flow and volume is diminishing. Hopefully this weekend's rains will replenish.
As I walked across the top of Horseshoe Falls, there were bugs - lots of bugs. Bugs in the color dark brown or black and skittering everywhere. About 100 feet upstream I could see the trout keying on these critters, but that stretch of water is almost impossible for the fly fisher to get to without some kind of sailing vessel.
I walked out on the ledge that Van and I favor whenever we come to this particular place. It is deep here and I'm not sure exactly how deep, but I do believe it is one of the deepest runs on the Blue. I would be fishing under an indicator today, but did not set my indicator to the depth of this run. In other words, I fished it much more shallow than the rule of thumb tells us to.
Although I came to test the Frenchie, the chartreuse Copper John from my last outing was still tied on and I sent him sailing to the sea lane. The first two casts resulted in two eats, along with two misses, which I seem quite prone to doing these days. However, they say the third time is a charm and on the third cast the first bow of the afternoon would come in for branding.
Leaving the Copper John in action, two more bows would come my way. The wind was so prolific today it interfered with the angler getting a natural drift. The wind was blowing from downstream to upstream and here I was casting upstream for a downstream drift. The indicator basically was floundered by the wind. Usually when drifting I let the drift do the work, but today in order to capture a bow a little twitch had to be employed.
After three bows had been landed, I relieved the Copper John of duty and tied on a size 15 pink Frenchie. As I put the Frenchie in the drink I wondered if it would indeed produce or not. My answer came sooner rather than later. The Frenchie seems to be the real deal.
The pink Frenchie would go on to capture four trout. With time growing short I decided to try a size 14 chartreuse Frenchie. This color didn't seem to be as attractive as the pink, but did manage one bow before my time was up.
I wish I could have stayed all afternoon and more so I wish I would have had some company. From where I was fishing I could see a good 1/8th of a mile upstream and twice that much downstream, and there wasn't a soul on the river. The Blue looked quite lonely today.
In the white wagon at 3:28, I drove off the river having the pleasure of meeting eight citizens of the trout community at Blue.