The leaves aren't the only thing that change colors in fall. Native brook trout, as their fall spawning time nears, take on a brilliance that matches that of any leafy transition.
I was reminded of this a couple days ago, when, along with a friend, I took a break from river smallmouth bass guiding to explore a nearby brookie stream.
It had been a while since I'd fished for brookies. Though the early portion of the summer had featured lots of rain — which translates into lots of water and good trout fishing — the past month had been dry. The streams were low and clear, typical of late summer and early fall; conditions that make for tough fishing.
During the day prior to our outing, things changed. We had an all day rain, the kind that soaks into the ground, rather than just running right off. I'd hoped that the precipitation would not only give the streams a boost, but help keep them at a nice level for some time.
When we arrived at the stream we were happy to see a nice flow. It doesn't pay to advertise the location of native brook trout streams, so I parked my truck as far off the road as possible, and backed in, so the TU decal on the cap wouldn't be readily seen. After donning boots and grabbing our gear we hiked about a mile-and-a-half up the stream, to an area where several nice pools cascade down the valley.
It only took a few minutes to hook my first brookie, a brilliant 9-incher that took a pink-hued streamer. Moments later my buddy caught its twin.
During the course of the afternoon we caught and released many more brookies and lost/missed many others. The fish weren't big — a 10-incher can classify as "lunker" in my parts — but what they lack in size they make up for in beauty...and the honor of catching a fish species that's native to our streams.