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11 June 2005
'Secret Creek' Fishing Report [June 10 2005]

B and I had been looking forward to a Friday night fishing outing all week - hoping to avoid last minute work assignments, crossing our fingers for a thunderstorm-free evening. The work week had been stressful, the weather hot. We had been planning to fish a nice stretch of the Grand River for some smallmouth bass. The first to arrive at our rendezvous point, B assessed the wading to be a bit treacherous however. Recent thunderstorms had obviously dumped enough rain into the watershed to cause a dramatic spike in water flow. We needed a backup plan.

I had spent the day up north planting beans and was on my way to join B at the Grand when she called to report her findings. Out of curiosity, I had checked the conditions of 'Secret Creek' (not its real name) on my way south. The flow was a bit higher than normal which is very good for this creek. Secret Creek is a small, marginal trout stream that we like to visit a couple of times each spring. The fish are small but beautiful and kinda stupid. The creek is relatively small and does not maintain much of a flow in the summertime. The trout activity declines with the low flows and the water temperature warms to the point where we feel guilty releasing caught fish. We tend to avoid this stream in the summer for these 2 reasons. On this occasion, we elected to give it a try.

'Secret Creek' pastureAnyway, we arrived to find our favorite access point available and chose to wet wade for the first time this season. The week had been a hot one and the thought of hiking around in a cold stream was very attractive - with our without fish.

We both chose terrestrial dry flies to start. B is conducting an experiment to see how long she can fish with just one pattern this summer - Turk's Power Ant. So far so good. I tied on a rubber-legged Bugmeister. Fish were rising very infrequently but would willingly come to the surface for both the Ant and the Bugmeister once in awhile. We fished upstream aways and then back down. I switched to a lifted wet fly for the return trip. B again caught plenty more fish than I, but we each bagged a few chubs along with a handful of healthy browns and steelhead smolts. We were able to fish together often enough to carry on a good conversation - an accomplishment we don't always manage.

At one point, the stream flows along a small cattle pasture and the animals were hanging out near the bank, watching us. A calf or two were on the wrong side of the fence, sampling bank vegetation. We had a pleasant evening sharing the stream with them.

A wet-wading hazard - leechesWe called the evening complete at about 9:30 a few minutes before a vigorous thunderstorm opened up on the area. We drove eastward toward home through hard rain, looking ahead at frequent lightning. We eventually drove through the storm, turned south and the lightning continued to occasionally light up the darkening roadscape in front of us, from behind.

During the drive home, B discovered that she had picked up a couple of leeches at the top of her wading shoes. She was able to remove one while driving. Pretty good feat I'd say. We removed the remaining offenders in the garage after she 'enjoyed' them all the way home. Yikes.

Difference between weather forecast and actual weather: 0%
Number of miles travelled by the 3 leeches on B's right ankle: 70
Ratio of chubs caught to trout caught: 2:1
Number of black-billed cuckoos spotted: 1, maybe
Did I get to use a spey rod? No.
Enjoyment score for the trip: A+ (even without the spey rod)

ADDENDUM...Thanks to the man in the yellow front end loader who came out to push the downed tree out of the road. He provided a 'good Samaritan' service for us travellers by quickly pushing the whole thing safely off the road. Without his speedy rescue, someone surely would've crashed straight into it in the semi-darkness.

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