This go around definitely produced quantities of fish, but those truly special 25″ plus browns we experienced on our last trip went MIA. My guess is that full moon we fished last trip brought in a fresh plug of fish that completed their spawn over the last two weeks. The browns we did find were in the deeper slower water behind spawning areas. Most of these fish looked fairly spawned out and were uninterested in chasing a streamer.
A Numbers Game…
If you’re after big browns, streamers are the best way to weed out the smaller fish. If fish are unwilling to chase however, this usually leaves one option which is to dredge the pits with indicators and weight. While this is certainly productive for numbers, this usually means hooking 20 or more browns & rainbows in the 16-20″ range before getting a shot at a fish over 21.”
Every Fish in the River or the Biggest Fish in the River?
Catching 16-20″ fish at will would be a dream day almost anywhere else, but not for those who fish the Mile frequently. The more you fish the Miracle Mile section of the North Platte, your focus will shift from catching every fish in the river to catching the biggest fish in the river because there is no telling just how big that could be. Without a shadow of a doubt, there are are browns in that river system that will rival any brown trout anywhere in the world.
On Saturday, I flirted with Hog Johnson and didn’t know it until it was too late. The fly just stopped swinging. I thought, could that be a fish? I gave it a half hearted tug and I got a tug back. One more tug a steady pull and then nothing. A split second after a giant brown hen porpoised and rolled frantically on the surface. I pricked her, but never drove it home. I quickly stripped in my fly and the hook point on the string leech was bent at the point.
Being Prepared for the Moment That May Never Come Again
I wish I could say lesson learned as if I haven’t learned the exact same lesson 100 times prior. This time it really stung because it’s hard to say how long it will be before I have a chance at a fish like that again. Then again, I sometimes think if I spend my entire day being paranoid about swapping stinger hooks & changing tippet, my fly is in the water less. One day the stars will all align, but until then that’s why I keep going back to the Miracle Mile.