Sometimes good things are just meant to be. Long time client Ben brought one of his business customers, Chris, for a day of streamer stripping. Blue skies, calm winds, lower waters levels—a day you simply want to be out-of-doors and especially on the river—regardless of the fact that bright light and good fly fishing usually are not the best of companions. Nonetheless, we started off and quickly began hooking planted steelhead on a smolt imitating streamer tied by the guide, no less. Ben then boated an 18″ rainbow, and we were off and running, only to begin hooking very large red horse suckers on green caddis, stone flies, hex nymphs, and even our killer steelhead plant streamer! We then shifted to fishing steelhead since we kept running over them as we drifted downstream.

Ben and Chris both hooked two steelhead, only to lose them, one a bright chrome hen. Meanwhile, we continued to catch planters and redhorse. The redhorse parade was getting so long that when Ben let out a whoop and declared he had another steelhead, Chris and I had our doubts. Probably just another redhorse, we thought. Our skepticism only increased when we saw the fish flash golden below us as it bulled its way close to the bottom. Suddenly, though, Chris yelled, “It’s a brown!” I looked back and sure enough, Ben had a brown trout and not just any brown on his Antron hex pattern. The fish was large, powerful, and completely unwilling to come to net. So, down the river we charged after it in hot pursuit. When I saw the size of the brown and remembered Ben’s longing for a special brown to add to his list of memorable fish, I said a quick prayer: “Tom, don’t screw this net job up; Ben will never forgive me!”

As the pictures attest, much to my relief and Ben’s happiness, we finally slipped the brown into the net and broke out the camera. Eight pounds right on the Boga mark and 24″ on the measurement decal. In short, a football. The picture cannot do justice to how fat this fish was. It’s belly was packed with who knows what, and its “shoulders” were thick and broad. I cannot recall any seeing a brown trout any fatter. It will forever be my operational definition of “pig.”

Congratulations, Ben! What a way to finish the day and week!

Tom Kuieck