I only had a couple hours this weekend, but I took advantage by visiting a tributary of the White River. Just like the tributary I fished on Monday, this is one I have driven across many, many times. I've often talked of fishing there, but until Saturday, I never had.
Monday morning, on a different tributary, I had encountered cool water. This time, I was surprised to find the water just under 70F. I know that the Middlebury Mountaineer has reported seeing temperature swings of 10 degrees in a day on some small streams recently. This stream might have been cool in the morning, but it was barely safe to fish there Saturday evening.
The hardest part about fishing this stream was getting to the water. The bridge over the stream is way above the stream with a steep descent to the water. A nearby pull-out provides even worse access - an eroded wall of dirt that cannot possibly be safely navigated. I finally found another place to park and hiked a bit to get easier access to the water.
Overall, this stream was smaller than the one I fished on Monday. And, I quickly noticed that most of the deeper water was incredibly still. I initially worked a deep hole for a bit, but a snag created enough turbulence to scare away any fish that hadn't seen me yet. I did return to this hole a couple hours later, and despite my stealth, I saw no signs of fish. So, I headed upstream.
On Monday, it seemed like I'd found one fishable pocket after another. On this stream, I had to hike a bit between possible holding spots.I was about a quarter mile upstream, working the riffles above a deep, slow pool when I saw my first fish. The fish rose to the fly and then changed its mind. But, a few casts later, that fish, or another of similar size, took the fly. It was a wild rainbow, about 8". I landed and released the fish as quickly as I could, given the water temperatures. That hole provided one more strike, but I missed it.
Upstream I went. I found a fairly nice riffle just above another big hole, and this spot produced one more small rainbow. The next few riffles gave me nothing.
Next, I tried a deep pool that was well protected by a huge boulder and low hanging trees. I managed to avoid getting snagged and I got some good drifts, but no fish rose to the fly.
From here, the travel got difficult. This stream took a big hit in Hurricane Irene, and there is still substantial debris that makes navigating the stream challenging. After working through a bunch of debris, I found a series of nice looking riffles and smaller pockets of water, but I had no luck whatsoever. I tried a few different flies, although I stayed with dries the entire time. I went smaller (size 18 parachute Adams) and brighter (size 16 yellow humpy), but a size 14 Elk hair caddis was all that produced strikes.
As I continued to head upstream, the light was fading on me, and suddenly, I was at the bottom of a very long, slow, shallow stretch of water. I took that as a good sign to head back downstream. A re-visit to the first pool I'd fished produced nothing, so I headed home to cook a late dinner for my family.
Two small wild rainbows. That's it. I hoped to get to the New Haven on Sunday, but some early thunderstorms messed up those plans. Next weekend, I have a lot more free time than I had this weekend, so I'll plan on the upper New Haven again.