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A Day at the Hatch

By HUNTER REDFIELD – Student Contributor

As a fly fisherman, nothing seems to be more amazing than fishing a hatch.

Fish are rising everywhere and bugs are all through the air. These were the moments I was picturing in my head as I drove to Oil Creek with word that grannom’s were hatching and trout were devouring them.

I pulled in and unloaded my things just before I walked to where I wanted to fish and put my rod together on the way. Just like I was hoping, caddis flies were seen buzzing all through the air and the trout seemed to be going nuts.

I sat on a big log and watched the trout rise and splash, chasing emergers while I tied on the flies I was hoping would give me many opportunities at fish.

I finally completed my knots and made my descent into the water to cast and cast to what seemed like barren water as the trout had slowed down on their feeding.

A trout rose, and shortly after, my fly had landed in the perfect position for him to eat it. As I watched it float along, a nose could be seen sticking out of the water, chasing my fly downstream and engulfing it.

After a short fight, I netted the trout, and after unhooking it, released it. I again began casting and slowly moving farther and farther across the stream, trying to get to a pod of trout close to the opposite bank as a drake mallard swam up to it.

I was able to get within a reasonable casting distance and watch as my fly disappeared in a whirl of water and a couple trout had come to my net before I watched a deer swim across the stream below me.

Soon, the same thing had happened yet again, and I heard something that sounded like stone hitting the water. It was a very solid sound of water thumping together, and I watched as a trout ate a caddis and again the sound could be heard.

The fish began a feeding frenzy, picking up every bug that drifted by, and my fly was no different. I set the hook and my line didn’t move for a second, but then my reel screamed as the fish took off right into all the rising trout I was fishing for and made a jump.

Upon hitting the water, it started racing towards me and slack entered my line. I thought it was all over, but as I caught up, weight could still be felt on the line. After another run and a screaming drag, I made my way towards the bank and somehow saving myself from falling in more than once.

I finally had made it and was able to net the fish, and although it had fought very hard, it was far from a monster like it had first seemed.

A man and his son walked down the bank and I asked if he could get a picture of me, and he said he could. He soon took my picture, and upon dropping the fish in the water and watching him escape, began talking about his luck. Then, we found ourselves saying good luck to one another and parting ways.

After that, the fish hatch had slowed down and trout were rarely rising. Swallows dipped and dove everywhere, grabbing as many bugs as possible. Another trout had soon ate my fly and been netted, only to be released just as the ones prior had been.

Darkness started to set in and an eagle drifted through the valley, and with that, I decided to end my day fishing the hatch.

 

Columnist Hunter Redfield is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.

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