90 degree days.
All these things help make August one of the most difficult times to safely fly fish our Virginia small streams. Every once in a while the stars align, the rain falls, and the brook trout come out to play, but not too often. After the mountain top experiences of spring and early summer, August comes around like a complete drag.
For someone like me, this is tough. My little mountain streams are a place of solitude and solace. Sometimes it becomes too difficult, and I just have to get out there. Today was one of those days. The high in the forecast was 77 degrees, and I was able to get the morning off for a short hike with my wonderful wife. Our first hike together since the new baby.
Not just a hike though because the homemade fly rod would tag along our stroll up the mountain to catch, hopefully, a little brook trout.
We were first in the parking lot of this popular place, and quickly jumped out and headed up the mountain trail. The water was clear and low, still a slight flow though. You could hear a few of the small falls in the distance, but I still wondered if any fish were around. Rocks that once had a foot or two of water earlier this year were covered by just a drop. This was a large contrast from our high waters in April and June. Then it was like every brook trout in the valley was willingly leaping onto my fly.
I was feeling the pressure, I have made it a habit to catch at least one trout per month, and I am almost at the three year mark. Most months I hit that mark within a few days, but August keeps me distracted. Each year so far, it seems to be the most difficult month for me to get my trout. Busyness, low flows, hot weather, smallmouth, kayaking, and spending time elsewhere are just a few of the things that seem to ensnare my attention away from mountain trout. Of course, I still manage to wrangle a few when everything comes together.
I took the stream temperature and found it to be a brisk 61 degrees, brisk for August anyway. Cold enough to safely trout fish. Honestly, I didn't plan on fishing too much, this was to be a hike with my wife. My August trout would be nice though...
We hiked and looked over the steep ledges at the pools spooking fish with our appearance. Every once in a while when we really wanted to see how many fish were in a pool my wife would chuck a stone from the ledge to see if anything scattered, they did.
When we came off the ledges and approached a place where fishing was actually possible, we snuck below a deep pool cautiously from downstream. I sent my little foam fly up and into the back corner of the pool. Immediately, a little trout cleared the water for the terrestrial and missed it completely...
I settled myself and threw a second cast. The little fellow went right onto the heart of the pool. His little wing stuck straight up into the air and within a second he was subsurface in the mouth of my little August brook trout.
I quickly took her to hand and showed my wife the small elegant lady. We admired her for a moment and I sent her back to her summer home. We stood up and looked into the pool. This pool was teeming with trout. They all danced around, freaked out by the giants above, us. We took a few pictures of them then left them for another day.
That was all I needed. A morning stroll with my lady and my August trout all in one trip.