I’ve watched the USGS gauge fluctuate on the Savage River all Spring, and finally found a window to go fishing. I was on the water at noon on Tuesday, as the Savage dropped from the 250 CFs range. The higher water makes for some great fishing, especially throwing dries in the pockets. I arrived, rigged up a sixteen foot 5X leader, and tied on a size 12 snow shoe march brown. I started in a rough water area, fishing the small pockets behind boulders, and where the soft seams meet the fast water. The trout were looking up, and I rose quite a few, but landed 6 fish by dinnertime. I took a quick break, and rigged a streamer on another rod. Two deep pools looked like good places for big fish, so I worked them thoroughly with a sink tip. The first pool didn’t give up a strike, but the second pool left me walking away defeated. Twenty minutes without a strike caused my attention to wane, until something pulled the line from my hand between strips and started taking line off the reel. I didn’t feel a strike, just instant fish running drag. The chase was on as the rod bucked violently. I adjusted the drag, kept pressure on the fish and much head shaking ensued. The strength, weight and bend in my rod made me realize this was likely the biggest trout I’ve ever hooked in the Savage. I felt the trout dive to the bottom, and one more head shake was one too many. The only thing worse than losing a big trout is not even getting a glimpse. I went back to fishing dries, and ended the day with 9 fish in the net. March browns, caddis and a few sulphurs hatched in small numbers, but I never saw any rises until dark.
Wednesday I took two rods down to a middle section of river that gives up some nice fish. I went through with dries, and than with nymphs, but only picked off two decent browns. I moved back up to the upper sections, and fished the same dry fly all day. I covered a lot of ground, and caught the triple combo; brookie, brown and rainbow trout. I had two 15 inch browns all the way to the net, and just popped them off. I moved down to a flat before dark, and had an encounter with the smallest fawn I have ever seen. It made a run toward the river, and I set my rod down to take a picture. I moved down river, and the deer doubled back. It ran clumsily right at my rod, but stopped a foot short of trampling it. I snapped a pic of this tiny deer, which was only as tall as the first stripping guide. I didn’t see any risers in the flat, and moved into choppy water. Before it got totally dark a few hendricksons, march browns and sulphurs hovered over the river. I left the water with 9 fish landed, quite a few misses and break-offs. On Thursday I hiked up through one of the lowest sections of river. I wanted to nymph, and quickly caught a half dozen bows on a size 14 pheasant tail. I picked up a couple of nice browns and brookies on a larger rubber legged nymph. In the afternoon I went back to dries, but since the levels had dropped 100 CFs, the fish were not nearly as aggressive. The fishing was still very good, and my total landed hit 14 fish. Plans to wait out the last evening for a spinnerfall were abandoned after thunderstorms chased me off the water. I slept in late and hit the road on Friday. The latest video post features some river shots, insects and some trout I caught on the Savage.