On my last excursion to the North Country, I had evenings with both good and bad fishing. For example, a client of mine fished over three large fish on Thursday, and on Saturday the fishing was slow for another pair of clients. On another note, these guys had a good time and they still managed to boat 15 trout or so. We also landed the first Rainbow Trout I have ever seen on the Manistee. Pretty cool experience. It was the first surprising trout of the weekend.
The other was a large Brown Trout that a friend and I heard on Sunday night. It made a sound like a whale breaching the surface of the water. Soon after, I went up to inspect the situation. I suspected the fish rose to a big stonefly, so I tied one on. Fishing the riffle, I skittered the stonefly imitation across and down, hoping for the big splash. It never came.
The next morning, I awoke around 8:30 AM, and decided to go to the same riffle to see if I could entice the big fish to strike. Still using the stonefly imitation I had on the previous night, I drew line out slowly. On the third drift through the riffle, a large shape emerged under my fly, swimming slowly. As the head of the massive trout came up to inspect my fly, I acted too quickly and instinctively pulled the fly right out of the fishes' mouth. Bummer. Alas, this was the second surprising trout of the weekend.
These fish are what keeps us coming back. New things can be seen every time we are out on the river if we pay close enough attention. Just sitting, watching, and listening to a river can improve your fly fishing skills tremendously. Next time you hit the river, use your powers of observation. It could lead to your next surprising trout.
This fish was a surprising trout. It ate a hendrickson at 4 o'clock in the afternoon ABOVE Mio on the Au Sable.
This fish was also a surprising trout. It came from less than a foot of water on a very cold night.