We decided to head to the Willow after finding the Rush low and choked full of weeds. My second cast into a deeper pool I hooked up with a stocker sized rainbow, about 10 inches long. As I was reeling it in, a huge fish came up off the bottom of the pool and grabbed the fish. He took the fish back down to the bottom of the pool, but ended up letting go. I let out some more line and again the fish grabbed the trout and took off. It again let go of the fish and went back down to the bottom of the pool. The pool was deep enough that I couldn’t see the bottom and the fish never came up high enough that I could get a good look at it. I figured it was a monster brown in maybe the 4-8 pound range. We had a similar fish do the same thing two summers ago on a nearby stream, and after months of trying to catch him we finally got it in the fall (A 25 inch brown).

I half slung the rainbow back out into the pool, but this time the fish wouldn’t come up and take it. I told the guy I was fishing with he could keep heading up river, but I was staying in the hole until I caught the fish. I didn’t have my streamer box with, but found a bulky 5-6 inch brown trout pattern that I had used in AR earlier this year still in my vest. I tied it on with one heavy split shot and cast to the far end of the pool. I stripped it in just below the surface, but no interest. Tried another cast a little further downstream and let it sink a little more. A couple of strips in, the fish shot up off the bottom and inhaled the fly. I wasn’t sure I had it but when I lifted up it was on. It shot downstream and I hollered that I had hooked up, so my buddy could get downstream and net it. I fought the fish until he got down to me (no net) when the fish exploded on the surface. It turned out it wasn’t a brown trout, but a….

20-21 inch Smallmouth! I couldn’t believe it. We were in pretty skinny water and I was shocked it held a fish that large. I guess she’s been getting fat eating trout…