Some days it just doesn't seem to matter what fly you use, where you cast it, or how you retrieve it. Sunday 02/28/2010 was one of those days.
Leaving the house, I was looking forward BWO's and midges on the wing. When I got to the river, I saw no such action. After picking up a few fish on nymphs, I started to see a couple of bugs in the air. I switched to a soft-hackle and started swinging and skating it down and across. At that point, I knew it would be a good day. A nice sized fish (~16") moved about 10 feet for the soft hackle, took it into it's mouth and turned away, breaking my line. I promptly cut my leader back to 3X and put on a streamer. The fly was modeled after the 'steelhead samurai', with a marabou tail and a pine squirrel wing, but it didn't really matter what the fly was. After this point I caught fish on streamers down and across, upstream dead drifted, and stripped in crosscurrent. Fish were in riffles, in pools, in tail outs. Fish where everywhere and moving sometimes long distances to my fly. It was one of the finer days I have ever had on a driftless area stream.
I won't go into details about the fish, because I have no photos of the day (dead battery) and so you will just have to take my word for it. But in the end, I landed no fish over 16", but over 10 fish were at least 14". That is simply huge for this stream-it is tiny. It was like all of the fish that I caught in this stream last year, which were 10, 12, and 14 inches, are now 12, 14, and 16 inches. In addition to the 10 biguns, I landed twice as many 10 and 12 inchers, but who's counting. 2010 is shaping up to be a great year. I'm planning on hitting this stream again later in the week with camera in hand.