Photos and Story: Big Trout on a Borrowed Fly Rod

Written by: Trent Simon, Three Rivers Ranch

Nevin Ardiaz shows off the beautiful brown trout he caught after I couldn’t tempt it.
Photo by Trent Simon

Before we hit the water, I stopped by the shop with my lifelong friend, Nevin, to grab a few necessities and extra flies that had been working great for me–Soft Hackle PMDs and yellow hoppers. Just before we left the shop, my buddy noticed the new 9-foot, 5-weight Orvis Helios 3D on the rack all rigged up and ready to cast. He said, “Hey, ask Nick if we could take that out today.” The thought of fishing that rod for the day got me excited because, after casting it in the lot outside a day or two before, I knew it would be my next rod. My awesome manager said it would be okay to test the fly rod on the water, and instantly our day of fishing got a whole lot better.

After filling up on cheap, authentic tacos, we made the short drive to one of my favorite stretches of water, which we had all to ourselves. I rigged the H3 with a tandem nymph setup, small split shot, and a strike indicator. Within ten casts, I had a beautiful brown trout on my line. It turned out to be one of the prettiest browns I had seen all summer. I continued to work the run and BOOM!, I set the hook again. A super-hot fish took me all the way into my backing in a matter of seconds! The reward was a very round, lively rainbow trout. After landing another rainbow trout out and losing some other fish, we took a break at the truck before heading up the river.

This fat rainbow exploded after feeling the hook and ran hard downstream.
Photo by Trent Simon

The next spot we stopped was a bank that neither of us had fished before., which featured a very short section of pocket water with a deep cut bank where we just knew there had to be a beautiful fish. As soon as we got in the water, there it was: the tail of a big brown sliding back under water after sipping a PMD. Game on! I tied on a yellow hopper, and I gave it a go. I cast and cast, dodging the overhanging branches and just couldn’t get the eat. My buddy told me to hand him the rod because he was feeling lucky and knew exactly where the fish ate last.Of course, the fish came up and sucked the yellow hopper under on his second cast! You could have heard our of excitement all through the canyon.

We stopped back at the truck as the hatch was starting to materialize, and we began pinpointing our targets for when we got back in the river. There were a few nice browns on the far bank sucking down PMD’s one after another as they floated down the river. We knew the routine: make the right drift and catch the fish, or mess it up and game over. My buddy took the H3 and made his drifts but he just couldn’t get the eat. So I told him to let me try my favorite pattern and give it a shot. The scenario from earlier was flipped, and I hooked into 20 inches of buttery brown trout on my second cast! After a few more fish, we decided to call it a day or else we would be stuck fishing till dark and get home way too late.

Trent Simon showing off one of the best looking brown trout he caught all year.
Photo by Nevin Ardiaz

The Helios 3 paired with the Hydros SL 2 and a slick shooting line was, without a doubt, the nicest setup I have ever fished. It was so light in my hand that casting with precision was completely natural. I felt like I could pick apart the water, seam by seam, with less effort than ever before. Once I started using hoppers and dry flies, it was just as easy. Pick the fly up and put it right where I wanted it, effortlessly. I don’t currently have a rod in my arsenal that I can use for nymphing, tossing hoppers, and casting with size 18 dry flies with the same amount of confidence.

Trent Simon is a guide and sales associate at Three Rivers Ranch, in Warm River, Idaho.

That is one gorgeous wild trout.
Photo by Trent Simon

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