Grass Creek, Owl Creek Mountains, Wyoming
Trout fishing and a tribute to Jack Bruner (1922 - 1994)
The trout pool in the image at right (click to enlarge) was one of four or five small pools that are joined together by the Grass Creek in the Owl Creek Mountains. When the creek is up the trout can swim back and forth between these little pools or even further if they like. When the creek is low, which it usually is, they get temporarily trapped in whatever pool they last happened to be in. The water is cold and clear and you can see the trout lurking in the deeper parts of the pools. You'd think catching them would be easy but these are very skittish fish that are highly suspicious of anything new coming into their domains. The older a trout gets, the more paranoid it becomes. Paranoid fish are hard to catch.
The most effective way of fishing these pools on Grass Creek is to adopt a fast paced, kamikaze style of "hit and run" fishing. You fish fast and you fish quiet because, again, these are spooky fish and generally you only get a few shots at them per pass. I used a weighted jighead with a brownish colored grub and a little silver spoon that I got from my brother 9 years ago and that had always worked well for me with bass. It worked well on these Grass Creek trout too. I just had to work harder to make it happen. I had thought that actually being able to see the fish as they hovered in the water would give me an edge, but it was usually the one I hadn't seen that darted out of nowhere to hit the grub.
Five or six casts from different locations around the pool and if nothing's happening, try a different lure. I rotate two or three different lures until I get the first strike. After that I stay with one that got the action. If they're not biting - they're not biting. Simple as that. I've learned the hard way the worst thing you can do is chase these trout too aggressively. If they're not interested in anything you've shown them, there's nothing you can do except go away and come back later when hopefully they will be. Trying to push it down their throat only guarantees you won't catch anything at all. That should be a no-brainer but I've fished for bass before where you could get away with that. You can push bass hard enough until they just plain get pissed off and hit your bait because it's so annoying. Trout require a little more finesse than that.
In the summer of 2003, I helped set up a Memorial sign for a man named Jack Bruner. His widow had had a sign made and wanted it placed at Grass Creek, which was one of his favorite places to go. He liked it for its peace and quiet tranquility. Both times that I've been there I've felt this same sense of peace and can see how easily someone might fall in love with it.
I never knew Jack Bruner. Everything I've heard about him leads me to believe I would have liked him. Whether he would have liked me, I'll never know. I knew his daughter and I knew his wife Jean, (who I've always thought was a pretty sharp lady) and I knew two of his grandchildren. It was through them and things they told me about him that I had learned who he was and I was happy to help put up his sign up. He was a good man and it was one of those "right" things that you almost feel compelled to do.
I just hope idiots haven't shot it full of holes. Some people think signs are targets - any kind of signs.