Head north on 29 from Lynchburg, then hang a left…
Hard to believe I’ve lived in Virginia for over twenty-five years and, until this past weekend, I had never been on the Blue Ridge Parkway. All over Skyline Drive, I-81 north-to-south, backroads from here to Warm Springs to Farmville to Galax to…? Yes indeed, I’ve been everywhere, man… but not to the BRP. It was a hole in the middle of the state that had never seen my wheels, boots, or fly rod.
For anyone who may not be very familiar with the Commonwealth, Virginia is a big state. For example, a drive from Arlington to the far southwest corner of the territory will consume more than six valuable hours of your life if you zoom down there in one uninterrupted shot, and it’s closer to seven hours if you obey the laws while driving. It was almost understandable that I had just not gotten to the BRP yet.
This weekend, I finally got there. My wife and I headed back home from Lynchburg Saturday morning after visiting our son and his girlfriend at college the night before. I had bookmarked a spot some time ago that was on the way home, so we drove away that morning, north on Route 29, then left… and headed for the Blue Ridge. Specifically, the Tye River. Nice place…
It didn’t get out of the fifties while we were there. The sun shone for a little while early in the afternoon. My wife caught a nice one right away, then it slowed down, but only briefly. Bugs started hatching. Some dark mayflies (see photo above), then some medium tan guys right around a size fourteen. We pitched some Adams and Patriots, and I’ll admit my creativity seems stifled since it’s been the same selection for us on every outing this winter and spring. But it works.
Probably the most fun was the last pool we tried. Fish were rising recklessly, launching themselves out of the water at what looked like Quill Gordons. For a while I couldn’t buy a hookup. After my brain-dead loss of two flies in the same tree in two casts (a common theme in my life — lose a fly in a tree, tie on a replacement, then put it in the same tree on the next cast), I finally started catching some fish in this spot. I ended up with four out of that pool, as I just sat on a rock on the side of the water and winged some “long” casts upstream. This was some very atypical small stream fishing. It’s not often I make a cast further than about ten feet on these little creeks, so sending a cast three times further and mending some line felt like good times on a bigger river.
Done for the day, we headed to the top of the mountain, got on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and headed north. Beautiful drive, and a great day of fishing. And still, so many other places to check out.
Weather conditions: mostly cloudy, winds S 10 mph
Air temp: mid-fifties
Water temp: unknown
Insect activity: see photo, medium sized tan mayflies hatching
Flies used: Adams, Patriot