Brown Trout (Salmo-Trutta)

(A writing to Dewey Gillespie from a very respected friend AJH)


          In October, standing in water gradually chilling from the frosty nights of autumn, I fish for Brown Trout.  I feel the gravel beneath my feet and the pinch of cold water against my wader legs and I hobble a little, but still keep my precarious balance while a groping foot finds a solid niche between two unseen boulders, and I cast again.  The big Brown is a hooked nosed male with orange belly and vivid red spots, and he is almost in the barrel of the current, across and a little down stream from me, facing up stream and low against the bottom, using a little eddy built by an underwater boulder.  He is evil-tempered and always hungry in these pre-spawning days, and he sees the dark streamer fly broadside, something that resembles the 4 inch sculpin he took an hour earlier, so he tips his head upward to catch the water’s push and swings back sidewise with the streamer.  The big trout drops down with a slow thrust of his tail, keeping a foot from the streamer, a thing he can catch at any time but chooses to inspect closely.  A smaller trout would dart over, under, and around it.  There are vaguely moving parts to the streamer fly, hair that hints of fins, and a solid portion that resembles a head, and when the lure leaps with the tug of the down-stream line he follows it across the current, sees it make a turn to go upstream again, and seizes it with a twist of his whole body, a solid tug that reaches me instantly, and whips the already bending rod into a tight arc.  It is not the thrilling rise of the floating fly or the gentle tug at a drifting nymph, but a heavy thrust on a tight line.  The fight lacks the finesse of the Spring Atlantic salmon, but it is a violent tug of war in the waist of a long pool.