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Thread: Walter The Trout

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Richland Center, Wisconsin
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    Default Walter The Trout

    Met up with Scott at 5:48 am at a gas station in rural Richland County. Scott geared up in the parking lot. He asked me what X leader to put on. He asked 3x or 5x. I told him to put on what he was comfortable with. 5x was his choice and a Pink Squirrel was his fly of choice.

    We were on the water by 6am. The fog intensified as the sunrise breached the hills of the driftless. Scott was having his way with the trout on the first run. We took one photo and got back at the adventure.

    We fished upstream meticulously and left not a run where there might be an eager brown unfished. The sun baked off the fog quite quickly and then we prioritized which water to hit before the sweltering heat that the weatherman had forecasted was upon us.

    I had told Scott our plans when he geared up. We were going to hit three properties that were adjoining and be done before the sun cooked us. While Scott fished the above hole I scouted the next stretch just upstream. It did not take me long to determine a change of plans were in order. I reported back to Scott the next stretch was occupied by a bull with du-dads as big as my head and we were changing locations.

    We walked back our vehicles and I told him about a legendary spot just downstream and he should follow me and park behind me. It was about 10am then. We parked and before we left the vehicles I had him put a new 3x leader on. Scott smiled widely and said: "We aren't messing around here are we?" I described the hole as we walked to it. This hole was the deepest in the area and I and friends through the years had made many memories with giant trout there.

    We got to the area and the hole had been obscured by basswood growth. The roar of the water was very loud and I could see Scott's interest piquing. We could not enter at my first choices of entry due to the bank being too sheer. I spotted a deer trail nearby and we carefully slid down on our behinds due to the steep incline. I remember Scott asking how we were getting out of there due to the banking being so precarious. I assured him I knew of an excellent exit area.

    I led the way and watched Scott's expression when he first saw the massive hole. His eyes got big and I could tell he was envisioning huge trout. He uttered "Holy ****" under his breath as we walked to the hole. I had prepped him with tails of monsters there from the past. I sat down and watched Scott for the first 10 minutes.

    He decided the hole was best fished with a black bugger with some tinsel flash on it. He found a size 8 in his box with a big bead head. I suggested a small split or some moldable tungsten on the line 16 inches up. Scott shortened the tail by my request. I was worried about short strikes on the extra long tail.

    I told Scott to position himself center left in the lower part of the hole and wade out to his wading belt line and try to cast up as far as he could. Scott told me that the rig was exactly like what he used for salmon. He called it "Chucking and ducking" and he was very comfortable in doing this style of fishing.

    The second cast Scott had a hit. It was subtle and let loose right away and then hit it again as Scott was attempting to reset for the next cast. Scott turned to me and said: "I am pretty sure that was a big smallie, is that possible?" I told Scott I had caught many smallies there and even a walleye or two and about 40 browns over 20 inches.

    I was seated behind him out of his casting lane watching him from about 20 yards back. Scott yelled "I am hooked up again but I don't think it is very big." I watched Scott fight the fish and he was not gaining much line on the fish. I thought too myself this fish is bigger than he thinks. I looked at Scott's net and thought it was clearly too small.

    I got up and waded up to him. I asked if he had seen the fish yet and he had not. He told me it was making power runs and there were non-stop head shaking. I watched the line lurch and strain for quite some time and Scott was not gaining control. I told him to keep it out of a submerged tree on the left and to keep constant pressure on it. I told him the hole was big and to let the big fish tire itself out.

    I stood right alongside him with my net in the water awaiting the monster to surface. It seemed like forever watching this fish struggle and surge and run off line and Scott recovering the line. I told Scott I wasn't even 100 percent sure it was a trout. Scott said: "It is a trout. Its mannerisms are that of a trout. The headshakes are classic big brown." I asked him what his personal best was as he fought the fish. He exclaimed: "Much smaller than this one!"

    I was worrying that the extended battle with this trout was going to be fatal with the weather conditions and overplaying it. Before that thought could exit my mind the bruiser made a huge swell in the water not 20 feet in front of me. I said: "That thing has to be huge to make that kind of swirl." Scott asked me if I saw it and sadly I did not.

    Scott started to gain ground on the monster and thought a netting attempt might be in order. We had not even seen it. I stepped out a couple steps and went deep with my net and was waiting to see the fish so I could net it properly. The fish was maybe 15 feet from me and I took another step out towards it. Then I saw the fish going up on its side and the brown trout colored were obvious with lots of dark spots and a butter belly. It opened it huge mouth flashing a monstrous kype and almost in slow motion out popped the fly.

    The valley echoed with expletives from my mouth. Scott had not seen the trout and asked if I had gotten a look at it. The look on his face was a defeated face and for a moment I contemplated telling him I had not. I thought to myself the not knowing versus knowing... I would want to know.

    I told Scott what I had seen and the approximate length. It was a gut wrenching feeling even as the potential net man. This episode will forever be ingrained in his memory. Scott kept fishing for 20 minutes after I had quit and walked back to the vehicles. I even walked back towards the hole to retrieve Scott because was still trying for "Walter"... Scott met me halfway in and we talked as we went back to the car. Scott dubbed the trout Walter and we spoke about a return in Fall to have a rematch. As I type this story I think of big trout landed and big trout lost. The ones lost definitely come to mind first.
    Last edited by spinner1; 08-15-2020 at 05:40 PM.

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