The temp was spiking in the upper fifties. Pretty good for December. So I decided to go to Sugar Creek, but when I checked stream flows online I discovered it was running very high and fast. My next best option was closer to home: Clear Creek.
Clear Creek was also high and fast but I knew I could access a good stretch without having to wade deep.
I hiked upstream to the old railroad abutments. The water was almost all the way to the treeline but it was only ankle deep.
I've had good fortune on this stretch, catching two of my best smallmouths here on successive casts. I was eager to get a fly into that deep flow.
I was able to get the fly close to the far bank, but the high water limited the room necessary for a real long cast. But then I got a bump just where the swing straightened out and the river narrowed. No hookup.
I fished on down past the many leaf stacks left by the high water.
At the farthest place downstream that I could make a good cast I turned around and went back upstream. I changed flies from a dark streamer to a white streamer and started downstream again.
At the spot where I had gotten some bumps I slowed down and did my best to cover the water well. I made several swings. Finally, on a slow strip, I felt a take. It was a fat little smallie, a bright spot in the drab day.
I especially enjoyed its eye, glowing like an ember.
I made more casts there, wondering if he was schooled up. If he was, he was the only fish willing to hit a fly. I fished on downstream, turned and made one more pass with a third fly, but the catching was over.
Everything went so well on this trip that I made an early resolution: to get to Clear Creek at least once a week all through the winter. I'm looking forward to it.