About two weeks ago my patch of parched Texas hill country experienced a “rain event”. If we lived a little further out in the country it would have been called a “toad strangler”. If we were old school maybe we would have called it a thunderstorm. “Rain event” sounds harmless, and benign, like “collateral damage”.
In my case the collateral damage was cancelling a fishing trip on my local creek. I reconnoitered early Saturday morning only to find the water high and fast, the color of my morning coffee with salted caramel creamer. The water had topped the foot bridge, trapping a raft of flotsam n the upstream side.
So it was back to the house to work on honey-do projects that had been languishing. The creek remained unfishable for another few days, but began to drop. The result of two to seven inches of rain upstream was a royal flush of the creek, which sorely needed one.
By mid-week the water had turned crystal clear ; more so than I had ever seen it in eight years of fishing this little suburban creek. But it was still high and too fast to fish.
Saturday morning found me with my fiberglass 2 weight creek rod, trekking quickly to the creek. The water still flowed clear, with fish clearly visible everywhere. Evidence of high water was everywhere, new gravel beds had formed, and previously silent springs sang once again.
My first few casts yielded nothing, then a small grasshopper hit the water twenty feet upstream. There was a large swirl at a substantial fish surged under the hopper, but didn’t eat. Then a small pop, and the hopper was gone. I tied on a Dave’s Hopper and cast to the same spot, expecting a small sunfish to be there to greet it. After the ripples created by the charlatan hopper flattened, I twitched the bug once, and it disappeared. I set the hook and the little glass rod bent to the cork as a nice bass tried to run under some snags. The 2 weight might look dainty, but it has grit, and shortly the bass came to hand after tail walking a bit. Today was shaping up to be a day to remember.
For the next four hours I fished alone. Not another angler was seen. I picked up enough fish to satiate my desire, but not so many that it became easy or boring.
Neon colored Longears were pugnacious and took offense at plopping hoppers. Green Sunfish made a showing as well, but I didn’t grab any photos of them.
Chunky Rebreast Sunnies hit like small creek MMA fighters. Several of these smashed my hoppers.
And a few of these Rio Grande cichlids. Here is the largest, around ten inches. This one apparently hadn’t heard the adage Rios will hit any fly as long as it’s black. Dave’s hopper claims another satisfied customer.
I love close up shots of these colorful natives…
I went back just two days later. The springs that had been flowing has ceased to do so. The water was a bit lower, and the fish were noticeably less interested in being seen. Downstream from the bridge about one hundred years where the creek enters the lake, a major algae bloom had begun, completely covering the water from bank to bank.
Prime time had come and gone. I had hit it at its peak.
Now if I could just do the same for the salmonfly hatch in Colorado…