Return to “Wild” Strawberry River

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I drove to the “Wild” Strawberry River, commonly known as the “Pinnacles”, Monday, July 7 and fished for a few hours. I’d fished there once probably 7-8 years ago when I was still fairly new to fly fishing. I didn’t really know the stream, didn’t know its value as a blue ribbon water, nor how to imagine fishing it strategically. I hardly remembered my first experience on the water. It even took a while exploring a couple of different sections this time to recognize where I’d fished before.

Once I started moving through the stream–there’s no fishing from the bank because this stream is pretty much enclosed by thick brush and cover on both banks–I started to pay attention and enjoyed my five or so hours there. I did remember fairly quickly that the stream, if not exactly a “freestone” water, has a lot of pocket water. (My experience on this stream is limited, so my observations may not apply to the entire Pinnacles section of the SR, of course.)

Runs and pools are not huge or long, but they can run deep. Occasionally a good sized trout can be seen holding in calm water near banks, or can be accidentally scared out from under banks, but generally, in my experience, the “hogs” are seen in deeper pools which can be hard to cast to because of the high bank cover, sharp angles of the stream bend, water depth, and tricky stream flows in and around the pools. Often, by the time I was able to cast to where I needed the fly to be to enter a pool, for example, I’d already spooked the larger fish mulling around there.

The one fish I hooked that might have approached 17-18 inches broke off after a nice leap out of the water. Next time I return I’ll hopefully have a better fishing strategy for a beautiful, but challenging stream. In the end I caught seven fish–the largest ones pictured here–and lost about that many. Pretty good day on the water. Plus I made a new friend you can see in the gallery. I was pretty excited about that!

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