I’ve never caught a really big trout. A few real dandies here and there have made their way into my net for a quick snapshot and release, but nothing even close to the absolute monsters we’ve seen from Silver Creek over the past few years. These fully mature fish are what dreams are made of. After all, the anticipation before a trip and the remembrances following are what fuel many anglers desire to spend countless dollars and hours on the water. What do you consider a ‘big’ trout? That answer can vary greatly depending of course on the particular water and fishery. Even technique can be a qualifier for what defines a fish as big or trophy status.
Like I said, I’ve never caught anything close to these huge Silver Creek browns. That was until last week! Even though it is not the largest of this collection (in fact I’m sure it’s the smallest) the fish above was the first trout I’ve landed on Silver Creek that really shocked me as being of a class size that I’ve rarely if ever held.
The cast was an absolute mess in the strong winds that afternoon. In fact my entire fly line was blown so far to the side it missed the water entirely, and draped over a mass of dead and rigid willow branches. However only the fly (a Morrish Hopper) and just a few feet of tippet landed in the water. The foam hopper just managed to fall through the tangled grass that tickled the deep water along the undercut and shaded section of bank. It was one of those casts that when you see it land you know the only way you’ll get your fly back at all is if a fish eats it so that you can pull the line taught and lift the line directly up from the mess of branches and snags.
There was maybe one foot of slack tippet until the fly would drag, and before the splat rings in the water even expanded beyond the size of a dinner plate, a quick dimple emerged from the dark water. I was thinking how I just needed any fish to eat this fly in order to avoid the eminent tangle. Just if a fish could eat this thing right now….! All this going through my head right as it happened. I could not believe my eyes. Moments later I realized my great luck was not only a clean hookup avoiding the big tangle, but that I was tight to a really big fish!
Those kind of fish don’t often materialize on those ‘one in a million’ kind of casts. But the fact that this one did made this afternoon on Silver Creek one that I will for the rest of my life be grateful that I was able to experience. Landing these fish quickly, keeping them in the water every second possible, and handling them with ‘plutonium-care’ ensures that they will be released unharmed, and be there in the future for others to dream about and maybe one day catch as well. It’s a beautiful partnership between angling stewards and nature, to care so much for the things and places where we love to dream.