The line slid through the eyes of my Redington 5-wt, flying on out over the Winooski River in a smooth tight arc, the bright color-tinged leaves in the background fluttering on their stems like a million squiggling butterflies. The 7-foot leader had just enough backbone to roll the little copper-headed Prince with a pheasant-tail dropper out over the surface of the dark blue water until it reached the end of the line.
In one easy motion it stopped and then dropped gently to the surface. Immediately the sinking tip went to work, dropping the flies down through the flat water until they were bouncing along the bottom. I felt the two imitations slipping along the smooth rocks of the mountain stream, looking like two carcasses of insects torn free from their home stone. Sensing the pull more than feeling it, I set the hook with a little tug straight back on the line.
The vibrations coming back through the Rio line told me that I had a small but ambitious trout on the hook. The fish ran upstream a ways, wiggled a bit in the current behind a big rock and then shot to the other side of the waterway. He liked that side of the brook where the overhang provided a deep shadow and a hiding place. But the sharp hook wouldn’t give up.
This time of year the river is low and it shows it’s skeleton. Large boulders and small rocks that have been moved into place by years of flood waters and spring run-off, provided safe havens for countless little brookies, rainbows and browns. A big trout would be 14 inches with most being in the 6-8 inch range. This little fellow I had on decided to leave the protective bank and darted downstream a bit, pulling in behind a dark gray boulder that had several bits scoured limbs across it’s bow.