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By woolly bugger
#703262
#68

I wasn't five minutes down the road when I realized I forgot the Sage SP that was recently returned from repair. No worries, I've got the Orvis Recon. I'll take it next time!

I drove to check out the field, still not mowed and two cars in the lot, I moved on.

I arrived at the next location and saw an old guy gearing up, I guess I'm an old guy too! Anyway, he disappeared down the bank and I wasn't sure where he went so, I walked up a way and couldn't find him. When I returned, he was nyphing the run.

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I watched him fish for a while. He had a large green yarn indicator on a double nymph rig. Great pickup and roll cast skills that impressed me. Then I watched the drift. I was tempted to yell, "MEND" over and over as a long belly of line drifted below his indicator. At the end of one drift the yarn twitched and he attempted to set the hook, somehow even with all the slack line the fish was hooked. He played it for a while and it turned out to be a decent brown.



I drove to another spot and left after seeing too many cars.

I ended up at the River Walk area that I had never fished before, I swung soft hackles and whacked a handful of punes. I ended up holed low and high and decided to move on again.

I fished the now vacant run where the old guy was, but there was very few bugs and no risers to speak of. I swung through the run and thought for a moment of nymphing but moved on yet again.

The final destination proved to be worthwhile with plenty of fish rising, birds swooping, and the main run was oddly free of fishermen.

I swung my way down the run and caught a couple handfuls of small browns. More bugs were coming off and fish were picking them off with regularity. I switched to a dry and the game was on for the next hour or so. By 8:30 I was feeling chilled and I had to pee and I just broke off fly, so I decided it was a good time to quit.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703274
#69




84 with scattered clouds Gas $4.64  :bomb

The drive is now costing me about $17

Some of the fields in the area have been mowed and bailed so I took a look at the MP field and it hasn't been touched yet, so I drove on up to the damn dam. It was about 3:30 and there were some birds eating sulfurs and the trout were rising. I hooked a few rainbows and brown on the surface in the first run and then moved on down to the main attraction.

I swung a soft hackle and whacked close to a dozen, 60/40 stockbows to browns. After swinging through the run I stitched to a dry and caught a few more, but it now after 6 and things shut down.


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I moved downstream hoping to find a repeat of the other evening. I shirtless tattooed spin fisherman struck up a conversation and he told me that he had caught a "Nine pounder, it was a rainbow" last night!

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"Awesome!", :;!  I replied as I waded into the river. There were a few bugs still coming off and the occasional riser. I caught another dozenn; browns and a couple of fatty rainbows.

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I fished until 8:30

Full moon rising...

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703280
#70



91 - too damn hot to hike in so I picked some low hanging fruit

Bugs were abundant and the fish were willing.

The action was obscene from the time I got in at three until 5:30 when it shut down totally. A lot of stockerbows, but about half were browns. There were some spectacular takes, classic images of trout crushing the dry fly. Sometimes they turned and followed the fly and struck from behind. They totally destroyed a couple of comparaduns. 

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The SP is back in action. dry fly action that it...
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I took a snack break and then went off to check on Dougfish, but I had no cell signal. When I started up the CR-V I saw this.

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Oh, snap. I had planned on fishing until dark at a lower spot, but I wanted to get the Error Code, so I drove into town

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The Error Code is a generic code; P219A  - Air-Fuel Ratio Variation Of Cylinder
Further diagnosis is required.  n!n 

No beer pics, in fact I haven't had a drop of alcohol in 8 days. I have what appears to be sciatica and am on a prescription anti-inflammatory which strongly recommends abstaining.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703286
#71

Gas $3.99 (60 cents off with HT rewards) Temps in the low 90s Water 46

The CR-V is back on the road, that new rod will have to wait.

I checked the MP field, still standing tall while all the others were bailed.
I drove on up to the damn dam. I was gearing up when a fisherman came up and I asked him how he had done. "We caught one 10 inches on powerbait. They are jumping, you fly fishing?" It was 2:45 and the hatch had started.

I waded out into the middle of the river where the current was divided so I could cast to either side. There were a few fish rising and some bugs in the air and misty fog rolled down the river.  I had a comparadun tied on from the other night and after giving it a shake n bake cast it out into the run. Bam, fish on, first cast.

I caught mostly stockerbows, they looked robust, and were colored up nicely.

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A few browns were in the mix, but it was 10 to 1 for the rainbows.

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The catching was easy as the hatch peaked, and the fish were gorging on the abundance of sulfurs. Downstream the bank fishermen were playing music, laughing, and having a good time, but catching nothing.

You may know that I switch rod hands while netting fish. I've been working on netting the fish with my left hand but it is still awkward for me and complicates the photo taking process that I've become accustomed to. I ended up dropping my rod in  about 2 1/2 of water and only noticed it while I was attempting to take an underwater photo of a just released fish that was hanging out by my feet. Oh, shit, I thought as I bent over to pick it up. As I stood up, I felt the cold water run down my legs and settle at my feet. Pretty chilly, but I fished on.

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At some point I took a break and emptied out my waders, changed socks, zipped of the legs of my pants, and put on a pair of fleece pants before returning to the river.

After a couple of hours things began to slow down and two comparaduns were torn up and useless, I switched up to a soft hackle, a partridge and orange, and swung my way back down the river, catching browns and rainbows along the way.

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By 6 o'clock, it was all over and I pulled out and drove to another location. There was only one other fisherman on that whole upper section of the river.

Birds were working the water, as I swung my way downstream catching a few here and there. At one point I had tagged a tree behind me and stripped in the line to check the fly, not realizing it was wrapped around the blood knot, I stripped the fly right into my thumb. I studied the problem, snipped off the fly, and decided to wade out and take it out at the car. As I was trying to figure out how to push down the eye and yank it out, a truck pulled up, and as the man as women stepped out, I asked if he would give me a hand. He came over and I told him to hold the mono and yank when I told him to go. Easy peesy, it popped out. I thanked him and rigged up again with a comparadun and went back in to catch a few more on the surface.


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It was getting late, and I wanted to get home before 10, so I left the rising fish for another day.


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49376
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703288
#72 Thunderstorms 93 when I left home 68 when I left the river Gas $4.50


It was hot as hell with the humidity factored in. As I drove up listening to the Jan 6 hearings, they were interrupted with severe thunderstorm warnings with reports of 60 mph winds and quarter size hail. A quick check of the radar indicated that I was headed into the center of a cluster, but with luck I would miss the worst of it. I ran into some heavy rain for about 10 miles, and it looked like it was clearing as I reached the river. Oddly enough there were a number of fishermen on the river today. As I went to check on a run, I ran into Mark and his friend from Reidsville who were rerigging their flies while waiting for the storm to pass. As I suspected the run below was occupied too, so I moved on down the river and stopped at a spot that I had not fished before.

The clouds looked menacing, and thunder boomed in the distance.

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I geared up and walked into the river, where the fog so thick that it obscured the surface thirty feet away.

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As I was deciding where to go, a trout rose in front of me. I spent the next hour fishing from the spot where I entered the river at the end of the path. I wanted to head downstream but with the fog so thick it was impossible to determine the best route. I'll come back on a sunny day and explore more.

I caught a half dozen brown trout and never figured out exactly what they were eating. I used a sulfur comparadun but stitched up to a loop wing bwo emerger which they liked.

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The fishermen at the top had left and I headed up top to catch the last of the sulfur hatch.

I swung a soft hackle and caught another half dozen; rainbows and browns 50/50.

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I'll just add that tying and swinging soft hackles is becoming a favorite for me.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703293
#73

84 sunny and very windy

]Dougfish sent a text (field not mowed) and a photo (beer)

It was Saturday and I thought the dam area would be crowded so I decided to brave the field of ticks. As I arrived a father and son were just moving out and reported the windy conditions and lack of catching. He said they were hitting the surface but didn't like his flies. He was fishing a #14 sulfur, and I said it was too big. He asked it there was a fly shoe in the area.  <-;:  Since there isn't one within 30 miles, I gave him a #16 comparadun. He also asked if there was a good place to eat in town and I recommended Papa's Pizza and also mentioned the Railway Cafe. I've not eaten there yet but will try it soon. Have any of y'all eaten there?  I finished gearing up and walked through the tick field to Sally's pool. Found two of the nasty critters crawling on my waders.

I was swinging a soft hackle and hooked a couple of small browns, before things stopped happening, I took a look at the fly and realized that I was, as Croker would say, "fishing on credit" all the hackle was gone! Then I realized that I had left the puck of freshly tied partridge and orange flies in the car, I blame the distractions in the parking area for this.

A rando yellow sally amongst the sulfurs.
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I had to go dry and battle the wind which was strong enough to put bend in the rod. I managed to get a few punes to hand, then I saw Dougfish[ down below and I waded down to him and had a beer, the first one in 13 days. It tasted great!

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There were fish rising and I sent Dougfish out to get'em.

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I went out above him and enticed 4 or 5 good fish to rise to my fly, but they either missed or refused it at the last moment. The wind wasn't helping any. Doug left and I stayed a bit longer and stuck a couple more before the hatch ended.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703296
#74

73 scattered clouds, Gas $4.45

I took a look at the MP field and saw Doug's truck and a black CR-V, I thought about hiking in, but moved on instead. There were aa cople of fisherman up and down from the run I wanted to fish. I was able to get into the primo spot, it was round 2 and there was very little activity, I swung a soft hackle and only managed to catch pune brown trout.

A father and grown son were fishing the flats at the canoe launch, the younger man was wet wading! I'd been fishing for about an hour and my feet were starting to complain. I couldn't imagine how cold it would be wet wading. The bugs started popping and I switched up to a puff daddy and caught few better fish. As the hatch progressed I switched to a comparradun and caught a lot of stockerbows and even though I was trying to target the browns.

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The father and son moved on down and began catching fish in the lower run as the hatch progressed.

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After catching several dozen trouts, I had to get out and warm my feet up. I walked up to the very first run where a fly fisherman was casting but not catching. I saw fish rising and since he was on the far side I briefly entertained the idea of casting to the rising fish below him.

When I got back to the car the young man who had been wet wading was back at his truck donning a pair of waders. I said that i didn't know how he could stand wet wading, and he said that his toes had become numb. I said the waders should help and he said he hoped so.

He went on down to the river and I put on another pair of socks before returning to my spot on the river.

More trouts were caught on the surface, but it started slowing down around 5:30 and stopped by 6:00.

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Rhodos are blooming, Doug says about 3 weeks early.

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I moved to the lower boat ramp to see what was up. I drank a beer while deciding to go in. I finally made up my mind to fish, but a raft appeared and anchored up at the top of the run and I went home.

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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703299
#75

85 - sunny

Doug sent a heads up that there is progress showing at the MP field, so I swung by to see. it still hasn't been mowed... damn.

I drove on up to usual run up top. There was a family blowing up innertube style floats, it was already 3 O'clock. "That's going to be a long, cold float," I thought to myself. A chubby boy with a face smeared full of some brownish orange food about 10 or 12 years old came around and started asking all sorts of questions about what I was going to do. Since he continued to pester me, I left and drove on up to the upper run where I geared up. Walking down to the river I saw no bugs and decided to return to the first spot. The tubers were floating down the river, I couldn't imagine sitting in that cold water for hours to get to the takeout in town. For some reason, I thought that the flow was lowered, maybe it was just the contrast of the weather from the other day, and the absence of fog.

A smattering of sulfurs were hatching and several fish were rising but it wasn't full on, light out fishing and I was only catching rainbows and pune browns.

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I wasn't in a groove, so I moved on to the next run, where the current splits in the middle and goes up against the far bank under overhanging trees. As I was studying the water, I saw some fish rise and go into hero cast mode. I did pick off a nice fish that I hoped was a brown, but it was just another rainbow.

I hiked out and then down to a lower run ...

Well, hello, little frog!

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Picked off more rainbows as the hatch petered out and I moved again, downstream.
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I drank a beer and watched birds swooping in to pick off hatching sulfurs. I saw a fish rise straight out from me and I had to go get it. I put down my beer, grabbed my rod, and waded out into position. Three cast later the fish rose and was hooked, yet another stockbow. Casting up close to the bank I found a nice little brownie. And later, down in the main run another one took the fly. It was a spectacular take and made my day.

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I kept hearing voices from upriver, but didn't see anybody for a while, I then realized it was the tubers. They had finally gotten to the end of their float. It was almost eight o'clock! I was finished fishing, and walked to the parking lot where the tubers were gathering. One was as red as a cooked lobster. some were chilled blue. They were trying to figure out where they were as they had planned to float to the next takeout but realized that it would be too far to go. Five hours of floating with their butts in 50-degree water was enough for them. I figured they called to get some help to get to their car.

:cheer


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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703309
#76

85 sunny, gas $4.59

With morning chores done I headed up to the river a bit earlier than the last several times. I did a drive by at the hay field, still not mowed. I was prepared to make the hike in but will wait for the tall grass to be cut. I went on up to the damn dam. There was nothing coming off the water and refusing to nymph I caught nothing for the first hour or so, finally around 2:30 the sulfurs started to pop off and a few fish started to look up. The hatch was pitiful and never got the fish going with abandon. I moved on up and explored the upper pools and runs.

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My knees were locking up from the cold water and I climbed out around 5, I was headed back to the car when I ran into The Driver. He had managed to get away late and was tracking me down -- Not seeing me right away he went to gear up and realized that he had forgotten a reel, leader, and socks! Fortunately, I had a spare reel with a 6WF line and provided a fresh leader. Then the Driver surprised me with an "Upper Smith Special" custom 8' 1wt rod! I guess he thinks that I'm over gunned with a 5 wt. I've got a CFO 1 with a 2wt line, that I'll try out the next time I go, Sunday or Monday,




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The hatch was petering out and we tried the lower run before moving downstream hoping to find an evening hatch. Birds were working the water and I quickly caught some rising fish.

I worked the main run, while Driver went down around the corner and found another run of risers.

We fished till 8:30

Update


Perfect match, CFO I
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User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703314
#77

74 degrees, I'll take it. Clearing rain to cloudy.

I drove thought an hour of rain, but the radar indicated it would pass by the time I reached the river. I drove up to the MP to check the field, there were two anglers packing it in for the day, I asked them about the field, it still is standing tall, and I drove on. I geared up in a slow steady rain and rigged up the brand new 1 wt with a 2 wt line on the CFO I, there was a 9' leader with some 7x tippet, so I went with that and a #16 parachute sulfur. 

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Thunder boomed as the rain stopped as I made my way to the water. Think fog blanketed the river and the thick clouds stood still with no detectable motion.

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It was just past three and the bugs should be coming off but none were to be seen. Sporadically, a fish would rise, but it was difficult to locate the ring of the rise in the fog. When a fish rose in front of me, I worked out the line and, on the third cast a pune rainbow initiated the new rod.

I was fishing from memory now in spots where I had found fish in the past. Sometimes they were there, sometimes not. The bigger fish weren't looking up and I caught mostly pune browns for the next couple of hours.

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I bug would pop off now and then, sometimes they were grabbed by a trout, but most floated by unmolested. I needed to move and find some rising fish.

Down at a lower run there were bugs floating and flying about and fish were rising steadily. They were feeding with abandon and took the comparadun over and over until it was destroyed. They were mostly rainbows, but occasionally I found a brown. After thirty minutes of action, the fish became more selective, and things slowed down and finally stopped around 6:00.

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I had caught enough for the day anyway and waded out. On the way home I stopped to check out another run where there has been an evening hatch, but it was quite, and I didn't see the usual activity of birds and rising trout. I drank a beer and listened to the birds.

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All this aluminum going to the landfill  :smile

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Rain is forecast for tomorrow, so I will probably stay home.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703317
#78

77 and sunny with gas $4.40



The river was calling, and I headed up before noon, got to the river at 1 and checked the MP, there ws Trouts-r-us gearing up in the lot and Doug's truck and another vehicle were there too. Chatted with Bob for a bit and then headed up the road. Text from Doug indicated a crowd at the top damn dam runs, so I stopped short to further explore an area that I've only fished once before under foggy conditions.

As I was gearing up, a truck passed and then backed up. The driver had been up at the damn and didn't have too much success, he quizzed me about the river, and I gave some advice. He commented about how cold the water was and was headed further downstream to try another spot. I told him that if he couldn't catch fish there, he needed to go home!

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Despite being right along the road I had a good stretch of river to myself. There were fish rising and a number of sulfurs were popping off. I caught three right just after stepping into the water at the end of the fisherman's trail. They were small but pretty and were fun on the new one weight "Upper Smith Special", to be called "USS One" from this day forward.

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I crossed over and worked the riffle and found many fish in likely spots. I just thought how special this verdant landscape was and it's peaceful beauty sooths the soul. I had found yet another "favorite" spot to fish.

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There was a lot of good looking water, but I didn't find any fish in the stretch of faster water at the head of the run. I continued to venture upstream where Doug spied me, pulled over, and watched me catch nothing.

I headed back to explore the run below where I put in and found some fish there too and I could see that this would be a great spot during a better hatch.

I got out and found Doug swinging soft hackles below the damn dam. I was putting on my electric socks when he came up to take off his leaky waders. He headed home and I went in. There were some risers, and I got some to hit the fly, but missed more than I caught and after an hour or so I gave up, thinking that the USS One, wouldn't be enough for me to fish the two uppermost runs.

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At the lower spot I ate a snack and watched the birds working the water. Waded in, with the 5wt, and got a number of fish to rise but no connection, 5, 6,7, 8, damn I suk at fly fishing. My casting was way off with the heavier rod. Finally managed to bring a couple of browns and a mangled stockbow, to the net before calling it a day.

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I may or may not make it to the river Wednesday or Thursday, but Friday is looking good if the weather holds.
User avatar
By woolly bugger
#703320
#79

88 scattered clouds, Gas $4.23


With the field finally mowed, I have no excuse to hit the trail and fish the middle section of the river. It was just after noon and the lot was empty when I arrived. There was a bit of a wind, and for a minute I thought about leaving the USS One behind in favor of the SP but went with the lightweight rod. Geared up, packed the cooler and headed in, they were about half done baling the hay. It was hot and I couldn't wait to cross into the shade of the forest and the path along the river where it was much cooler.

I stopped in at the first run to cool off and catch a few fish. There were a few sulfurs about, and the fish were looking up.

I waded chest deep into the middle run to cool off and to see if I could cast the OSS One across to the lower far side of the river. Not quite, but I did catch a couple on the skittering Puff Daddy.

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After cooling off, I headed on down to the main run and ate my lunch and had a beer. There were fish rising and I saw a smattering of sulfurs.


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I caught a few but it shut down when the hatch changed over to tiny bwos

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I changed flies to a #24 bwo emeger, got a few strikes and missed a few on the tiny hook but did manage to collect a handful of punes. I saw a good fish rise in an eddy and tried to get it to take my fly, but it was a difficult cast and the fish never rose again.

A young man came up wet wading from below. We chatted for a bit, and he asked quite a number of questions about  the river. This is probably the same guy from Richmond that Dougfish reported. Turns out he's working in Greensboro, so not making the much longer drive from the Capitol. He drove up after work, hiked in to just above the island and was covering a lot of water with a bobber rig. He asked if I was fishing upstream or down and I replied that I was just waiting for the pool to light up with the evening hatch.

He moved on up and I sat down and drank a beer.

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Picked off a couple of deer ticks crawling on my hand and saw this Dobson fly.

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The sulfurs started off slowly, but the fish were keying in on them and the puff daddy appealed to them. The peak was about 6:30 and was pretty much over by 7:30

It was a pretty good evening, and I'll be back.

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The brown in the last pic gave the 1 wt rod a workout and worried me when I brought the fish in to net it scooted between my legs and I had to step over the line at the same time I was trying to net it and then it took off downstream for a bit before I got it back under control.


When I hiked out and got to the lot at 8:30 the youngster was already gone.
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