Coldwater talk: A multi-species fishing feeding frenzy
A small, spring-fed trout stream weaves its way through a cow pasture and empties into a smallmouth river. At the confluence of the two waterways, three of us stand and wait for a bite. And we wait. And wait.
For some reason, the fish aren’t having it and we are a little embarrassed to realize we are getting skunked on crawlers. Normally we would be plying the waters with artificial lures in an attempt to catch bronzebacks and the occasional, wayward trout, but we weren’t. We thought we’d have a 4-year-old with us, so we were set up to drown worms.
When said 4-year-old decided she didn’t want to fish, we left her with grandma, then went fishing went anyway. After giving up on our sure-thing spot we hiked back toward the truck along a slow-moving, deep stretch of water. Dark shapes of carp ferried their way through the green-tinted water and since my buddy Eric, my father, and I, aren’t too proud to fish for carp, we stopped.
Within 30 seconds my dad was hooked up on a 14-inch brown trout. After that it was nonstop action as we burned through two dozen worms. The day was hot, and there was a single cottonwood tree hanging over the water that shaded a particular fishy looking spot in the run. If we landed a crawler in that shade, we got bit. Under that tree were plenty of trout, smallmouth, suckers, and carp. It was, to be honest, an absolute blast.
When we had exhausted our crawler supply to a single worm, my father casted out to see if he could make good on the last bit of our bait. He didn’t, at least not until he started to reel in the worm. Then he got bit, hard. The fish put up a heck of a fight and when he finally pulled it up on shore we saw that it was a solid brown trout that measured 20 inches on the nose.
After that we tied on small crankbaits and fished the fast water closer to the truck. A few smallies obliged us, but the best action had been under that tree were eager fish awaited a drifting nightcrawler. Knowing what I know now, I’m going to make sure that any and all 4-year-olds who could fish that stretch with us, will fish that stretch with us. That really is the only thing that would have made it better.