The temperature in the canyon was only 42-degrees, and wouldn’t warm up much as the day went on. The canopy of trees over the stream cast shadows on the water, and made it a little easier to sneak up on good holes in search of trout. I hadn’t been back to Diamond Fork since the big run-off a few years ago that did so much damage along the creek bed and the road; downed trees and uprooted brush were still to be seen. But the stream itself was back within its banks, and looked a little more like the fishing spot I’ve known for so long.
My plan for the day, as I was fishing alone, was to start very early with small spinning lures, such as a Panther Martin, and eventually graduate to the fly rod as the morning drew on.
My spinner produced right away; on my second cast I hooked into a beautiful brown of about 14-inches. Colored beautifully in golden brown with blue halos around the spots, I had forgotten how much and why I love stream fishing so much. I enjoy moving around from hole to hole in search of pockets that will likely hold fish. Downed logs that make for a deep hole while blocking water flow, or undercut banks and turns were quite good. Not every good-looking spot held fish, but the majority of them did. And I caught a nice number of small cutthroats and browns on spinners.
When I stopped briefly for a lunch break, I then decided to switch poles and see what I could do with flies. The quiet rush of the water made for a peaceful stop, and I took my time relaxing. Eventually, I tied on a small nymph off a dropper, and a blue-wing olive on the main line. To my surprise, both worked about equally as well. I was somewhat amazed at the success of the dry fly when little of a noteworthy hatch was going on. But I took it as a good sign of the fish population and their eagerness to cooperate with an angler’s offering.
My curiosity as to the number of fish in the stream was pleasantly satisfied, and the further upstream I went, the higher the concentration of fish presented themselves. This allowed me to catch multiple fish from some holes, while getting a look at darting fish whenever I hooked into a trout. Most fish were in the 10- to 12-inch range, but I had two really nice fish roll for my blue-winged olive, but didn’t hook either one. They looked to be about 18 inches, and thick across the back. I would have liked to have identified those fish, just to see what was up to that size in the stream. But it didn’t happen.
I must say that I had a great trip, and enjoyed having the place all to myself. This can be a common sight, especially on weekdays when most of us are working.
Check out your favorite little stream and see if the action has begun to heat up yet. You can’t beat the tranquility.
A wish to be ‘back home’ in April & May
I couldn’t help but imagine what the fishing was like “back home” in Tennessee in April. My cousin Craig will have taken note of the dogwoods blooming, and the warming water temperatures, and will be now chasing white crappies as they move into cover for the spawn.
He’s the ultimate crappie angler, and knows the hot spots on the Hiwassee River to chase them. He’ll gather up a bunch of 1/8- and 1/16-ounce jigs, with a large variety of tubes and grubs, and will have his boat in the water every chance he gets. Oh, and the minnow bucket will be hosting several dozen shiners too. I always enjoyed dropping minnows into the tops of submerged trees and bushes, and waiting on that tell-tale thump of a crappie inhaling the shiner.
Using gold or light-wire snelled hooks gives you the ability to get yourself out of a snag. But putting pressure on the line, the gold hooks will straighten out and slide loose of the obstacle. Or perhaps he’ll be casting and vertical jigging grubs in and around similar cover in search for some slab crappies.
Trolling through sloughs can also give you an idea of crappie presence. Plus, you can cover a lot of water in a hurry, and not spend too much time in a poor spot.
Sometimes we’d use a bobber in order to keep our bait at an optimal depth, and wait for it to take a dive, signifying that a crappie had inhaled the lure. Whatever method he settled on for the day, you could bet that Craig would have a stringer full for dinner that evening.
This all gets me anxious to go out in search for concentrations of black crappies in such lakes as Pineview Reservoir and Willard Bay. Fishing can be quite good if you put in the time to find the schools. And that’s where experimentation takes its place in the methodical searches for panfish. They can be found along the rocky shorelines, in weed beds and brush, or even suspended over deeper water.
I have the float tube and boat both ready, and will be out shortly in search of those delectable fillets. There’s just no time like crappie time in my book. I wish I could go back to the homeland for a few days fishing. That would be great to visit and fish together with my cousin for a while.
Brad Kerr is an avid angler who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.