The Current Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 44

Hard wading, lots of fish

When most people talk about fly fishing on the Pit they are referring to the Pit 3 and 4 reaches below Lake Britton. Pit 3 and 4 are wild trout fisheries so no stocking typically occurs in these reaches--which is a good thing! The Pit has great natural reproduction for wild fish. In fact, the Pit is an absolute fish factory. Its flows originate from the bottom of Lake Britton so the water stays relatively cold all summer. Temperatures can start to climb by the dog days of summer so it’s still a good idea to take a thermo and check the water if it feels warm. Please do not fish if it climbs over 68 degrees.

Because the Pit has good natural spawning you will encounter a large range of fish sizes but the average catchable trout will be in the 10-20 inch range. There has been healthy juvenile recruitment into the system the past couple of years with spring flows and temps staying good all year. This has contributed to a successful spawn the past two seasons. There are a good number of smaller fish in the system but you won’t typically catch too many of them on standard fly fishing techniques. From my observations, the population of the Pit 3 and 4 consists mainly of rainbows with the very occasional good-sized brown in the mix.

The Pit is famous for its tough wading conditions. There are a lot of easy public access points along Clark’s Creek Road between Lake Britton and Big Bend. Getting to the water is no problem, it’s getting around once you are in the water that is the challenge. Pit 3 has been described as trying to walk on greased bowling balls. There are not really any sand bars or long grassy banks. It’s all a canyon with steep rocky and heavily wooded banks and the entire sub straight of the river is rocky cobble and boulders for the most part. In between are tufts of tall grass and elephant ears making it a bit challenging to maneuver in some spots. Flows average around 350 cfs in Pit 3 and jump up an additional 100 cfs for each proceeding reach, on average. So, there are not a ton of places you can easily cross the river though there are a few spots where you can get across without taking a swim. The thing is, you really don’t need to cover as much water on the Pit as you would on other rivers. There are so many little pockets and nooks and crannies and there are fish in every just about everyone. So that’s the tradeoff. More fish per mile but harder to cover distance while fishing. I’ll take the larger fish count any day.