Warm Water on the West Branch
Usually the West Branch Ausable fishes well no matter what time of the season. The weekend after the Fourth of July, however, proved to be an exception this time around. To be fair, I only fished the morning of Friday the 6th so it could have simply been that instance that was off. But the water was low, perhaps lower than I have ever seen it. Thursday night’s promise of thunderstorms and significant rain never materialized. It rained but only moderately and not for very long. Even at 7:30am when the sky was still overcast and water dripped from the trees, the water felt like a warm bath rather than a trout stream.
I parked at Monument falls, one of my favorite spots. I fished the deep, slow pools and bends, almost exclusively with streamers and a sinking line. This is usually a sure method of catching many trout, particularly in this stretch of water. I got a total of two strikes, both of which were small fish. I saw three or four rises. The only other noteworthy occurrence was a good sized brown, probably 16 inches, that ambled out from the bank and into the current as I peered down from a large boulder.
As unproductive as it was, I had the stream to myself and had fun. I got to fish some water I hadn’t tried in at least a year and had to really think things over and work for the fish I got. If nothing else, it was Friday, a day I’d normally be at work!