A stiff hike brought me to familiar water and clear skies. Mayflies fluttered above the water and caddis scraped over rocks underneath. Slow, sporadic sips spotted the surface, pointing to emerging mayflies. The pursuit began with a traditional dry but didn’t garner any interest. I transitioned to a tan Klinkhammer only to have trout give nose bumps and turn away.
Continuing my search, I came upon a large stationary shadow a few feet under the water’s surface. I couldn’t decipher which direction it faced until another shadow moved by causing it to shift just slightly. An Ecstacy soft hackle was tied on as I took a knee, quartering behind the fish.
The cast of hope was made and I waited with trepidation as the fly made it’s way down. I began a slow twist retrieve and saw the head shift just slightly. A brief pause was followed by sudden tension; the rod doubled over and the trout shot deep.
The first run ripped over 50 feet of line and worry set in as backing became more and more visible. I was led far down the bank until finally pulling enough to turn its head. I pulled the net from my waist but just as it entered water the trout bolted with the sickening pops of knots shooting through guides. This final run was short; pulling the sheer weight of the fish to the net tested both rod and tippet.
I scooped her in to see beautiful vermiculation and deep shades of green; this was one of the most beautiful Tigers I had ever come across. The moment was captured on camera and she was sent on her way. I have yet to spot her since, but I hope she might grace me with her presence again soon.