It's been a stunning August in Lancaster County. Temps in the upper 70s to mid 80s, low humidity, and excellent rainfalls have kept our small streams in stunning shape, and the brookies are benefiting. Monday evening I jumped at the chance to get an hour and a half or so of fishing in on my local Lancaster hotspot.
Knowing I had a limited window, I decided against fishing my normal stretch. My normal haunt takes about 2 hours to fish from start to finish, and then there's the walk back to the vehicle. In the spirit of time and adventure, I decided to break the mold a little bit and try a section of the stream that is just below where I usually start. I've fished a good stretch of this stream, but the stretch I decided to fish, I've never fished before. When starting down stream, I usually stopped just below this stretch, and when starting upstream, I started at the pool just above. I'm very glad I started where I did. There are some excellent stretches in this section, with hefty browns and brookies. I caught several fish and all of them seemed fat and healthy.
The real gem came at the end of the night, though. As I was wading through the pool which is directly down stream of my usual starting point, I saw a rise in what I assumed was structureless frog water. If I didn't see the rise, I would have waded right through the pool to get to the bank and start the treck back to my vehicle. I made my cast just above the rise, and my fly got POUNDED. This fish jumped clear out of the water. All I saw was a pink belly. I thought I must have caught one of the hold-over rainbows that are still in there from the spring stocking. This would have excited me, actually, because I've never caught a bow in the stream and I was ready for a trifecta (even if the bow was a stockie).
What I brought to hand was even better, though! Landing the fish, I discovered that what I caught was a very large native brook trout. I've always though the ruler on the Eagle Claw Featherlights were cheesy and put there for the bait slingers who picked up the EC rod in an attempt to "try fly fishing". I was glad to have them on this night! I held that brookie up to that ruler, and it measured 12" dead on the nose. This is by far my largest brookie to date! I quickly took its picture and released it. When I got back to my car later and looked at the picture, I feared I mis-measured. My Sasquatch paws made that fish look tiny. So, just to reassure myself, I took a picture of me holding a 12" ruler haha! I sure am glad I decided on something different this night!