My First Trip to the Swift River
I was taken to school and humbled by Swift River rainbows.
These fish are better schooled than I am and that is a fact.
Gin clear water that flows from the bottom and consistent year round makes for an oft visited fishery…typing that makes me feel a bit better about my ‘meager’ skills.
Ted and Billy (Keith had left to make a family engagement), dropped down a bank into a nice looking hole, but there wasn’t any room for a third stick, so I decided to explore downstream a bit. A fair walk in the fog saw a lot of slack water until I came across some structure and movement that looked promising.
Sure enough, there were 4 or 5 ‘bows working a feeding lane and my heart starting beating a bit faster. Alright fellas, “you are mine”, I says to myself with a touch of smug.
A series of wee nymphs 18-22 including jailbirds, serendipities, pheasant tales, zebras, tiny caddis types and a few of my own design as well as micro-buggers a guides special and a griffiths gnat. For the most part these fish just ignored me, but for three strikes and ill conceived hook-ups that brought no fish to net.
About an hour into this, the oddest thing happened. At least 30 more fish appeared seemingly out of nowhere and were ‘turned on’ by what may have been emergers. I could see no bugs, but these fish all in the 12-18″ range were sipping, rolling and even breaking water for about 30 minutes or so. I had a nymph specific rig on a 9′ 5 wt. that wasn’t easily convertible, but I tied on a length of 7x tippet and tried some of the smallest morsels I had. Even a couple small soft hackle emergers.
Nothing but a few half-hearted takes of fish olympic trained to spit a fly! Almost as suddenly as they appeared, the others went back to some unknown lie while the original 4 or 5 continued about their business of ignoring me. Keep in mind, my friends, these ‘bows were nearly knocking my knees.
Clearly, I have something to learn about these ‘Swift River’ beauties.