Accidentally Catching Fish

Ron Olsen

Active Member
Casting a fly at Coffeepot Lake many years ago. Family is originally from Davenport, and have many fond memories of days with Grandfather, uncles, cousins etc. Anyway, fish are rising near shore. Yup, tried to cast there and caught a branch overhanging the water, and it wrapped around several times leaving the fly dangling above the water. Yup again, a fish managed to jump up and get hooked. It’s my story, and I'm sticking to it....
While fishing for Bull Trout in central Oregon, a friend of mine broke off a nice fish. Later that day I "hooked" and landed a nice 6 pounder. Upon closer inspection, my fly had hooked up under the hackle wraps of my friends fly, still lodged in the corner of the fishes mouth. I think the fish was happy to be caught and have the original fly removed.


Active Member
Several years ago I was at Homestead Lake with my young daughter fishing powerbait (before the lake was changed to selective rules - and she's a flyfisher now!). I called her to help me clean a couple rainbows we had kept, so she set the rod down on the basalt ledge above the lake and came down by me. A moment later, the rod disappears into the depths of the lake followed a short time later by a fish jumping like crazy about 40 feet out from shore. I promptly took my rod and put on the largest spinner I had, cast it out in the vicinity of the fish, and reeled in her rod on the first cast. I handed the rod to my daughter and she reeled in a nice 15" rainbow!
The best accidental catch for me had to be on the upper Davidson River in NC. A buddy of mine and I were hiking up this canyon.. way back there. There was a narrow section of the canyon where the water channeled into very fast pocket water... almost a falls, but not quite. While we were rock hopping and climbing up this pocket water, I suppose I was dapping every pool we went by, because somewhere along the line I had a 2" fish take the fly. When we got to the top, I let out line letting the current load it, and went to cast. The additional weight was not expected and the line flew high, wrapping around a thick branch about 10 times. what was left was a 2" fish dangling like a perfect ornament. Funny as hell.

Last spring I was fishing the Little D for cutts. I was fishing a dry fly stimulator with a nymph dropper. I had landed a cutt of about 10" on the dry fly & was in the process of unhooking him when another cutt of about 6" hit my dropper. What makes it so funny (now, not then) is the timing of it all. I had my forceps securely on the dry fly hook, had rotated it upside down, and released the 1st fish. At the exact second I released my forceps, the little guy decides to strike the nymph, securely piercing my dropper hook through his upper lip. Cause & effect...the force of smaller fish hooking himself was apparently plenty of force to slide my #12 stimulator securely into my finger. So there I was, the upper hook in my finger and a cutthroat slashing away vigorously at the lower hook a couple feet away. While cursing the 6" cutt, his mother, and his mother's mother...I frantically tried to grab at the very active piece of 2lb test maxima between the two hooks -with the forceps in my hand, trying not to drop them in the water. I finally did get my hand tangled around the line, but only managed to drive the hook deeper into my finger because I apparently grabbed my line too agressively. Fortunately for me, I pinch my barbs & I finally got the hook freed from my finger. The lil' guy was still flailing away on my dropper as I dropped the now tangled birdsnest of my line in the shallow water. I got him pulled-in and released him...although I was very tempted to do much crueler things than just release him. But, I figured he probably wasn't having too much fun out of this ordeal either, so I eased him back into the water. The tangles and knots in my line were now too far gone for my eroded patience, so I cut off the whole leader and tied on a new one. After all that I had to sit down on a log to chill out for a few minutes & nurse my boo-boo. I finally did manage to laugh at myself. I still remember that exact spot to this day.
I was fishing a local fly fishing only lake one evening last year. I was casting a dry near the lilly pads and reeds that line the edge. It was all most dark and there was a lot of activity near the shore line. Fish were surfacing all around. Well I saw a the water swirl in the area that i thought my fly was in so I set the hook. What a dissapointment, it wasn't a brown that I know are in the lake or any other fish. I had hooked a muskrat.

Fished the Yak about 10 years ago. Hooked a 13" rainbow late in the day shortly before the takeout at Ringer, but he broke off when he wrapped around the anchor line. We continued to fish the area for another 30 minutes or so until it became dark. So we drifted the last 100 yards or so to the takeout. As we were breaking down the raft, we saw something flashing around in the water near the back of the raft. Turns out the trout never got the 2 feet of 5X tippet unwrapped from the anchor line when he brokr off upstream!


Native Trout Hunter
I was fishing the Gardner River in Yellowstone last year, and my dry fly got pulled under right as it passed by a blouder which it than got snagged on. So I tried a couple of roll cast so dislodge my fly, lucky for me I wasn't successful at this, because my fly line started moving and I ended up bringing a nice 15" bow to hand.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Okay, here's one. After an long Alaska season a guide friend and I went on a little road trip from Boulder to Navaho Dam, NM and the San Juan. We camped out on the bluffs, caught up on our sleep, and fished there for a week. The fishing was stupidly fun, also just plain stupid.

One day we are sitting together on the river banks, feet dangling in the water, taking a break for lunch and fish stories. A rainbow swims up to my boot and starts taking small bugs off of the felt of my submerged boot. I picked up the last two feet of my tippett by hand and dropped a little midge into the water and let it fall down onto my boot felt. The trout watched all of that and then swam right over and plucked the fly off of my boot and swam away with it, and I set the hook with my fingertips.

The fish just disappointedly sulked back over toward my feet and let me release him there without a fight.
I had just started flyfishing (back in the early 70's) and some friends and I had hike in the the Jewel basin area of Montana (near Whitefish). We were young and inexperienced and ended up getting soaked our first night. Early the next morning we were drying out our clothes on a huge rock that slanted down into a little basin lake , maybe 40 feet wide by 100 feet long. I tried a few casts but I kept hanging up and banging my backcast on the rock behind me. I gave up and reeled in with just the tip of my leader hanging out of my tiptop guide (maybe 18"). I was nearly asleep when I huge Cutthroat (easily 4-5 pounds) came out of the water and inhaled my fly . I jumped for my Rod and set the hook, but only had him on for a second or two. When he popped off, I retrieved my fly and discovered that most of the bend had been snapped off, probably on the rocks. I damn near cried as I had never even hoped to someday catch a fish that big on a fly. But being an optimist I tied another fly on and proceeded beat the water in that little alpine pond to a lather. No luck. Disgusted I reeled in again set my pole back down and tried to fall back to sleep. Sure enough about 20 minutes later the same damn fish (there couldn't have been two that big in that little seep) slammed my fly again- same spot! This time though I had him solid and proceeded to land a beautiful westlope cutthroat about 22 inches long and as thick as a football. Needless to same my time spent fishing with anything but flies was limited thereafter- and I always check my hooks after every hang up :ray1: