Trophy Rainbow on Small Water

Now I know on such storied waters like the Green River, the Sitka, or the Fire Hole, a trophy rainbow is +22, even 30″, but on my little homewaters, a 18″ is indeed a trophy. Yesterday I caught this ‘bow on an unnamed river with about 97 cfs about an hour’s drive from Brooklyn.

Right at dusk in the fading light, in a nice current in a hole right in front of a boulder, I spotted the ‘bow bullying about four browns who kept trying to get into her position. They were feeding on nymphs and couldn’t be raised in the fast water on a stonefly. At first I thought it was a enormous brookie because her fins were flashing white, also a sign of a wild fish. Its stocking season, and sure, she could have been broodstock, but MAN she didn’t fight like one. It wasn’t until after she turned to pursue my conehead brown muddler that I realized what a beast of a fish she was for my little creek.

A couple passes and she lunged at my fly, she then proceeded to take me up and down the pool, my line singing and my 5wt bent over. Saying a myriad of prayers to the fishing gods, I danced around the pool keeping tension on to tire her. Finally she came up and I realized she would barely fit in my net. I snapped a couple of pics and then sat with her in the water reviving the ‘bow until she was strong enough swim away on her own. After giving a barbaric yelp, you wouldn’t believe it, but I spotted another bruiser, this one bigger than the first. The last fish had lockjaw and I knew I had used up my river karma for the day, so I left content.