Sunday, March 8, 2009

Knocking the Rust Off.....In Style

The stars finally aligned and I made it out to the stream for the first time since October, 2008.

I had originally planned a solo, "mental cleansing" trip but a last minute call from a good friend gave me a great fishing partner for my first trip of 2009.

I had planned to fish a few tribs of one of my favorite WV wild trout streams. I scouted these streams out last fall but low water conditions prevented me from doing anything but camera fishing.

I wasn't sure what to expect after a five month layoff and mid-winter stream water conditions. The early March weather forecast called for temps in the upper sixties - NICE!

Once on the stream, I started with my typical low water temperature pattern, a small beadhead olive woolybugger. I fished a couple of nicer pools without moving a fish and then it happened - my first fish of 2009.

Talk about starting the year off right, a beautiful 12" wild rainbow!

The same pool yielded another small, wild rainbow but the rainbows were not what I had been searching for. This was section of water where I had underwater video footage of probably 30+ brookies pooled up last fall.

We fished up through the larger pools without moving another fish, which was actually not much distance but should have yielded something. Above the point where another feeder trib dumped in, the water got smaller and the large pools changed to pocket water. Fishing the small wooly bugger is not practical (or easy) in this small pocket water so I switched to a dry dropper rig.

I put a small royal wulff up top with an 18 bh pheasant tail dropped 6-8" below it. Little did I know this would turn out to be "the ticket" for the day. It wasn't too long after switching up I picked up my first brookie of 2009 - and I caught him on top!

As we moved upstream, I picked up a few more brookies on the dropper. One of the little jewels I picked up was this little guy. He wasn't the biggest or the prettiest, but for his size he was definitely the fattest. For a little guy, he had quite the gut on him:

With plans to fish two other tribs, we decided to wrap things up on this little trib. Things were looking very good so far. The fish were active and the air temps were climbing.

Before the next trib, we decided to grab a bite to eat down at "The Rocks". I also decided it was a nice enough day to shed the waders and do a little wet wading. The water temps were still pretty chilly, but I wasn't planning on wading above calf-level in these little tribs.

It appeared the day would continue to be productive as I caught this guy in the first pocket of the net trib. Again, on top in early March:

We fished a short section of this steam, then jumped back in the vehicle and headed to the top. Instead of the headwaters, we found private property so we returned down to the lower stretches.

We found a nice little high gradient section and scrambled down over the "cliff" to the stream. It's funny, my partner compared my scrambling abilities to that of a mountain goat - I compared his to that of a giraffe. The road was above right in this photo:

What's the big deal? It wasn't that far down. I told him I wouldn't make fun of his (lack of) fishing abilities, so I guess I'll poke fun at his (lack of) scrambling abilities.

As we fished up this little section, I continued to pick up one after another on the little pheasant tail dropper.

This was a beautiful little stream.....

but, with one more stream that I had to check out on the day, we decided to move on.

The last stream I had on the list for the day had purpose. I got word a couple of weeks back that the US Bureau of Land Management had plans to lease the oil and gas rights under this stream. I am not sure what damage the deep well mining will create for this stream, but I am quite sure this little stream can not handle the required water draw needed for hydro-fracturing.

The mission was quick and easy, simply prove this stream had a reproducing population of brook trout. It didn't take long to prove this, in less than fifty yards of stream I caught what appeared to be two or three generations of brook trout - and it only took about fifteen minutes.

Here's the proof (3 generations?):

I sure hope nothing comes from the oil and gas lease, I would sure hate to see anything detrimental happen to a stream of the caliber.....stay tuned.

With another box checked on the day, we had just enough time to hit one more trib. I have fished this stream multiple times but my partner for the day had yet to fish it. This stream is capable of putting up triple-digit days, but it wasn't to be today. The steep slopes along this stream hide it from the early season sun and it still had quite a bit of ice.

I did manage two more brookies in the short period of time we were on the stream, including this nice specimen in one of the first couple of pools.

What a way to begin a new fishing season! I checked off three more WV blue lines on my personal list, the air temps and the fish count were what I would expect for late spring, the brookies were feeding on top, and I was able to wet wade for the better part of the day.

I would say that is kicking the fishing year off in style!


1 comment:

Gary said...

Great post Chris. I seem to have lost your email address, so if you could shoot me an email about the Gila trout trip that would be great.