Fishing Reports

51 posts

Brook Trout Fishing Report, Jeremy’s Run, Shenandoah National Park

Jeremy's Run Brookie
She was swimming six feet in front of me

Jeremy’s Run on a Saturday. What I was thinking was stupid. Hitting not one but two popular brook trout fishing spots in Shenandoah National Park in the same week was going to make this an odd week for me, and this second trip was… what? I was heading to the day hiker superhighway on the west side of the Blue Ridge. Trying to catch fish that have seen every Orvis and LL Bean fly ever sold. Walking past miles of pools infested with pasty old fly fisherman too feeble to hike into the “real” spots to fish. This was stupid.

Screw it. I went anyway.

I had just a few hours to drive somewhere, so Jeremy’s Run was a prime spot. But when I left the house I still was half thinking I would bail and head somewhere else, knowing that this could be an inane idea on a weekend. So I drove down 340 talking to myself the whole way. Really… Jeremy’s Run? You think you’ll pull up to the trail head and have it to yourself? If you get there and see ten vehicles, what’s your plan B? Drive back home? Really.

Jeremy's Run Pool
Another pristine pool.

My preconceptions about the fishing pressure, which are based on things I’ve heard from a lot of people, has always made this place verboten for me. I did hike down Jeremy’s Run trail from Skyline this past winter, but I didn’t bring a fly rod and that hike was strictly recon. Just in case. This stream might have the easiest access of all the better streams in the park, and everyone has been to Jeremy’s Run, so yes… I pictured a line of cars and pickup trucks nose to tail on the shoulder next to the sign warning to stay on the trail (it’s on an easement over private property until it crosses the park boundary, like a lot of trails here). I imagined hiking a few miles to find real solitude. Mumbling to myself the whole way, too, and turning into a crotchety bastard with hair growing out of my ears as I went.

Turned out I was completely wrong. When I arrived at the trail head, there was not a single vehicle. Saturday morning, 11 am. Everyone knows the brook trout are eating now, right? So what was up?

Maybe all the fish were gone and no one told me.

Winston WT Jeremy's Run
A $14 reel on a $650 fly rod. Is that wrong?

Maybe it was the weather. Forties and overcast, with fog hanging just above the valley and flowing like a slow stream in the sky around the top of the Blue Ridge. Yep, had to be the weather. Aside from a group of hikers and one other fly fisherman, I saw no one. Surely a seventy degree day would have had this place crawling. Since there are so many other good spots in this park, I’m not going to find out what Jeremy’s Run is like on those days.

Like the Robinson River in White Oak Canyon, this is a nice stream. Good water and good fish. It’s also nicely shaded and has a lot of good runs and pools. It’s popular because of the ease of access, no doubt, but it’s also a really good spot. I have to be fair and admit all that. Nice, nice place.

So the first fish I caught was about six feet in front of me. I had worked my way up into the middle of a pool that had no cover and was maybe two feet deep. I saw a splash and thought it was just the current piling onto itself. But it happened again and I saw the fish. And a second smaller fish. How could they not see me? So I cast upstream with the same Rusty Parachute with which I had ended the day at White Oak Canyon earlier in the week and lifted the rod tip to keep the leader off the water. Let it drift. And BAM! I got the first one. And then I got the other. Sweet.

Fiddleheads Jeremy's Run
Fiddleheads. And I left the steamer at home.

The water was about forty four degrees, maybe forty five. I really need a better thermometer. The one I have just has ticks between every marked twenty degree interval. But low to mid forties it had to be. So I caught several more, all decent sized, and I missed a few, as always.

Just awesome. How can you not love brook trout?

I brought the Winston WT 7 foot 3 weight I got on eBay a few weeks ago and I really like this rod. I’ve used it now on three brookie trips. Today was the first time I used it with a 3 weight line (the correct line), a double taper from Hook and Hackle. I had been using a four weight line and it casts that well so long as you keep it within thirty feet or so. Beyond that and it starts to get soft though it still throws it. The WT is definitely a medium action rod and casts a three weight fly line so sweetly. But none of this really matters much for this kind of fishing because I’m usually casting just the leader. Today I had the leader a little too long. I started with probably ten feet and 5X on the end of it. But with a size 16 dry fly and a couple changes it ended up being perfect. With the proper leader, this rod delivers it however you want provided the wind is light. Delicate drops, power or even roll casts, no fly line involved, are no problem. You just don’t want to rush the cast. Let it load and push your thumb through it. Pleasant. I’ll try to devote a post to a short review of this thing. Not that it’s some new piece of equipment, but it is a rod that seems to be overlooked these days given everyone’s obsession with ultra fast action rods. For small stream fishing, though, this kind of rod might be ideal.

So Jeremy’s Run, sorry I’ve ignored you for so long. It might be a while before I return, but at least now I know. You’re worth the trip. Unless the weather is good.

Brook Trout Fishing Report, White Oak Canyon, Robinson River, Shenandoah National Park

Robinson River Brook Trout
I bleed for these fish.

I had just finished fishing a good sized deep pool near the lower part of the falls in White Oak Canyon when this guy appeared. He was perched on a boulder upstream and above me and had just taken his shirt off. A typical day of fishing in Shenandoah National Park means seeing no one else, maybe just the occasional hiker. And the acknowledged protocol is to give anglers a wide berth. I even do what I can to not be seen at all by another fisherman when he’s on the water. After all, if we wanted to be socializing each of us would not be out here in the woods miles from any road and most people. So though I was done in that spot, I was a little miffed to look up and see someone standing over the pool I had claimed as mine for that short time.

Then the guy jumped into the water.

Limberlost Trail Sign

The Robinson River and the White Oak Canyon trail is not the secluded fishing scene I’m used to in the park. This is a very popular hiking trail, and even on weekdays you’ll run into someone. I met almost a dozen people when I fished there last week. Only two of them trampled into my stream.

The deep pool I had been fishing was beautiful and I could see why anyone would think it inviting, and I thought that until I checked the water temperature. It was about forty four degrees. So what could I say to this guy after he jumped in? He pulled himself out, looked over and saw me standing there with my camera pointed at the spot I was just about to vacate and my rod propped up against a sapling. “Man, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you fishing there.” It was no problem, and I explained I was heading upstream. He went on to say he was from Colorado and that he and his dad would go into the mountains and fish for cutthroats when he was a kid. “There are brook trout in there? I had no idea.” Most people don’t.

White Oak Canyon - Upper
I did a lot of climbing...

The next guy showed up after I had hiked back up above the falls. I had just caught a bunch of brookies in a short stretch of pocket water, including a few good sized fish (for this area). He looked incredulous. “Are there fish in there?” Yes, I just caught about ten. “Ten?!” He was marveling at this as he stood on a boulder perched above me. Just like the first guy, he was in a perfect spot to spook the pool. “How did you get here?” He asked as though it was some trick I do. I told him I had walked. He squinted and grinned and seemed resigned to not comprehending. I told him to have fun, the only polite dismissal I could think of, and he climbed back up to the trail.

Anyway, it was a good day of fishing. I had parked at the Limberlost trail head on Skyline Drive and hiked down past most of the falls before fishing that one deep pool and then hiking back up to get serious about it.

White Oak Canyon Track
...and hiking...

I ended up covering 6.2 miles and over 2000 feet of elevation gain each way. It was definitely a workout, and the trail is pretty steep when you get to the start of the White Oak Canyon falls. Even if you’re not into fishing, this is a great hike and the falls are spectacular. You can perch on several overlooks and get mesmerized by the water cascading above and below.

There are good fish in this stream. The first one I caught with luck and it was a nice one. It was in a pool no wider than ten feet across and about that length from head to tail. I wasn’t expecting a strike and was pulling back to start my back cast when I hooked it. That always makes me laugh. Even when you do see a fish before it strikes it’s a little surprising, but when you’re not expecting it and you get a good one, it’s great. You fooled the fish and yourself. Genuine fun.

Robinson River Brook Trout
...and caught some beautiful fish.


So I slid and climbed and gingerly waded upstream, catching fish after fish, all on dry flies. An Adams, a Royal Wulff and a Rusty Parachute (the last from the Orvis Fly Tying Guide by Tom Rosenbauer). I tied all of these over the winter, and each one worked well. The only reason I changed a fly was because it got drenched and slimed by the prey, so I tried a few different ones. Otherwise I’m pretty sure any of them would have worked. I still don’t think brook trout in these small mountain streams scrutinize dry flies a whole lot. I mean, here I am pitching them some pretty crappy looking stuff I tied myself and there was no shortage of interest. Maybe that just means they are desperate for food. Still, it’s satisfying when fish eat the flies I sat in my house tying while picturing a day like this. And it mostly played out the way I had imagined. The few exceptions were the several missed strikes and the flies snagged by low hanging branches.

Robinson River Brook Trout
These brookies have some color!

Since this was my first time fishing here, I walked past a ton of good looking water in the upper section while scouting the place. Lots of runs cascading into wide pools. I definitely did not have to make this a six mile hike. The next time I come here I am going to try from the lower end and work upstream. This really is a great stream and it’s no secret. I’ve read about this place for years but have always avoided it because I prefer fishing in some solitude. So running into hikers, curious folks and a swimmer was, except for the swimmer, what I expected. And it wasn’t bad. I was kind of surprised not to have seen anyone else fishing, but even if there had been ten other people this stream stretches far enough to support that.

The Robinson River and the White Oak Canyon definitely merit a return trip.




Brook Trout Fishing Report, Piney River, Shenandoah National Park

Piney River Brook Trout 3
Piney River brookie, Shenandoah National Park

I don’t know if the temperature hit forty degrees on Skyline Drive this past Saturday due to the latest cold snap, and so I had expectations for a mediocre day of brook trout fishing in Shenandoah National Park. A change of weather can slow a stretch of good fishing, and that was part of my pessimism. The other problem was the time of week. On weekends, SNP is not my favorite place.

Weekends on Skyline are always kind of questionable if you’re seeking some solitude. In good weather any time of the year, the place is a playground for visitors from all over the world. On nice weekends, it can seem to me like the entire DC area suburbs are transplanted here. The outdoorsy Subaru driving twenty and thirty somethings are out hiking, the hardcore dogs are powering down the trails with their Komperdell trekking poles and tourists from all over the world are driving no faster than two thirds of the speed limit (that’s two thirds of 35 mph). “Not a weekday, stay away” makes sense for me, and no matter the weather. So besides the cold, it was even worse to think that others might be fishing out there.

Piney Branch Trail
Meandering to the Piney River

None of that mattered on Saturday. I ended up throwing all that wisdom aside and headed to the Piney River and parked the truck around 11:30am. I think this is the third time I’ve fished here, and it’s been almost two years since the last time. Glad I gave it a go.

To access the stream near its headwaters, enter Shenandoah National Park at Front Royal ($15 per vehicle for a one week pass, or $30 for an annual pass to the park, or even better, $80 annually for access to every national park) and proceed south on Skyline Drive. Across the road from Matthews Arm campground is a ranger station on the left, just after mile marker twenty two, with a small parking area. The Piney Branch trail starts here and runs down the mountain toward the stream. Once it crosses the Piney (the first time, at the crossing closer to Skyline), the trail turns right and parallels the stream. You can get to the “larger” part of the Piney when the trail crosses it again a couple miles below, but there are other options if you’re willing to improvise.

Piney River Cliff

The Piney River is a great place to fish, but be warned. This is not the thing to do if you’re pressed for time. Driving to the park is itself a journey unless you live nearby, and once you’ve reached the trail, it’s roughly a two hour round trip hike. It’s also not your thing if you don’t like bushwhacking and climbing up and down some gnarly, overgrown slopes anywhere from fifty to one hundred feet above the river. But you, as an aficionado of pursuing small native fish, are no doubt into getting away from it all to practice this pastime and have already accepted that there won’t be cell phone service, people in shouting distance or a place for the MedEvac to land. It’s a typical outing for the lunatic fringe brook trout fly fisherman. So if you have time, a fair bit of energy and the desire for a very small bit of adventure, here you go.

Piney Branch Elevation Profile
Burning some calories all the while

Even in early spring with the trees still naked from winter, there is not much of a view on the hike down the Piney Branch trail to the stream. The good spots to fish begin after around ten more minutes of hiking past the first crossing, but you will probably want to head further downstream and fish back up, filling in as much time as your schedule allows. The first time I fished here I hiked all the way down to where the trail meets the stream at the lower crossing, about two miles past the first crossing, and fished back up from there (I have not yet fished downstream from that spot). On the downhill stretch of trail paralleling the Piney is where you can think about improvising.

What I did today and have done before is to find a place where the vegetation is a little sparser and where there is a clear shot down to the water. Along this stretch there are several sheer cliffs between the trail and the river, so find the spots in between where the slope goes all the way down to the stream and head down there to fish. Easy to do in March, but not so fun in early May and later.

Piney River Brook Trout

The Piney is loaded with trout. All except one I caught today were small, but I have caught brookies over nine inches here. One challenge when you’re on the stream (and a good thing if you’re a trout) is that there are a lot of dead falls on this river. So not only will you hike a lot and do some scrambling down and up steep slopes, but you’re going to do a fair bit of climbing over and scooting under fat tree trunks and lumber and scaling some large boulders with your fly rod in your teeth. You could avoid much of that in exchange for not fishing much — it’s part of what you have to do here.

The water temperature today was a steady forty two degrees. This seems about the minimum temperature for dry fly fishing, and it was mostly the small guys that were willing to risk their lives to eat my dries. I did not tie on a nymph today, not once. As I’ve written before, my preference for catching brook trout is on dry flies, though you may recall that I resort to nymphs when it’s called for. I’m sure I could have hoisted a few larger trout today with a Hare’s Ear. But… I… Just… Won’t… Do… It! Still it was a fun day. I caught at least a couple dozen brookies.

Piney River Brook Trout

I did see a some mayflies, probably Quill Gordons. The two flies I used were a size 14 Royal Wulff (my go-to fly on these streams, and I caught the big daddy of the day on that… but no photo) and a size 16 Mr. Rapidan. The latter caught way more fish today, though that might be because 1) I tied the Royal Wulff myself and I’m, uh, still learning how to do that well and 2) the Wulff got slimed and abused early on. I ended up trimming some hackle off the top and cropping the tail a bit (the tail was way too long) and got it back into pretty good shape, but the Mr. Rapidan was the fly the fish wanted to eat today.

So yes, it ended up a good day. I fished with a Winston WT 7 foot 3 weight I got off eBay. Really nice rod and I’m going to have a little review of that shortly. Stay tuned…

Holy Water, Rapidan River Brook Trout Fishing

Rapidan Brookie
Rapidan Brookie from the Eat More Brook Trout blog.

The Eat More Brook Trout blog was fishing on the Rapidan River just a couple weeks ago. Sounds like a great time, dry fly fishing in the afternoon with Tenkara rods. I’ve fished the Rapidan once, the first time I caught a brook trout. It certainly is a beautiful place. On that April trip I did not make it to President Hoover’s camp, having called it a day just downstream from there after losing count of how many trout I caught, but reading this post reminded me there is a lot to see in Shenandoah National Park, and that river and the camp should be high on any fly fisherman’s list of places to go.

This time of year, when the temperature has warmed up a bit, afternoons bring good dry fly action on the streams in Shenandoah National Park. My first brookie of the season was exactly a month ago, on a certain unnamed stream in the park, and on a day when the temps hit seventy degrees the afternoon definitely turned the fish on to dry flies. I still can’t bring myself to nymph for them. It just seems wrong even if I miss out on some action because of it. There is nothing like floating a Royal Wulff or an Adams over small pockets of water and having little native fish just slam them. Right now the Quill Gordons should be starting to hatch so the fish should be looking up.

If you’ve never fished the Rapidan and certainly if you’ve never fished Shenandoah National Park, consider signing up for Murray’s Fly Shop Mountain Trout Fly Fishing School. It’s two days of guided fishing and instruction on the Rapidan River, and you’ll learn exactly how to fish these small mountain streams.

Indian Run and Some Uh… Investigative Fishing

Indian Run Falls 1
The Fishless Stream

Investigative fishing, otherwise known as “let’s go take a look,” sometimes rewards with great moments — beautiful places, lots of fish or discoveries that are worthwhile. I did some investigative fishing this past weekend, in fact, at Indian Run in Shenandoah National Park. But it was not one of those days to remember, other than to remember not to go there again.

I have recently become interested in finding the northern-most streams in the park that hold brook trout, more out of curiosity than anything else. It is well known that the southern half of the park’s northern district, the bulk of the central district and a good bit of the southern district have great brook trout streams. But the closer you get to Front Royal and that very developed area at the park’s northern end, the more it seems the streams just peter out. Various maps show some promising blue lines and today I decided to cross one off the list. Even after hiking all the way down from Skyline Drive to the park boundary and back I still think Indian Run could have some populations of trout (if anyone knows for sure I’d love to hear about it). As I worked my way down the mountain this little brook gradually became a little deeper and a little wider. It was just starting to look fishable when I stepped on an orange blaze on the rocks, which was under the “Boundary” signage you’re familiar with if you go tromping around the park much. Oh well. If this stream does have fish it’s likely they are in the lower section outside of the park on private land.

The Fishless Fly Rod
The Fishless Fly Rod

Hiking down along Indian Run is not a pleasant trip. The main thing is that there is no trail. Not horrible this time of the year, but you would not like hiking down there when it’s warmer and overgrown. Even in February it’s a chore. It’s steep and rocky, and in many places it’s a gorge that narrows with steep slopes on both sides. Quite a workout coming back up, too, and quite a bit of undergrowth that’s difficult even in the winter.

So I got that out of the way. There are a bunch of other places I have marked to explore, but that will be it for a while.. The next several trips are going to be to where I know the fish are. But on a warm day in February, might as well gamble a little, eh?



Indian Run Spring
Indian Run - The Source Puddle

One thing that always fascinates me in this park are the springs that feed these streams. There is so much water coming out of the ground that keeps these streams flowing uninterrupted all year, every year. Indian Run is a typical Shenandoah Park stream in that regard. At the top of the Blue Ridge, it’s literally nothing. Then you find Indian Run Spring, which is just a puddle. Then there is another puddle, then more. As you hike down the mountain, it is just a dry stream bed, but you can hear the water underneath it. Then it percolates out of the rocks into the miniature gorge, and more and more water bubbles up until it’s a real river. It all makes you wonder what’s going on underneath the mountain, and whether it’s going to keep seeping up from the ground forever or if it will eventually all just shut off. It’s one of those things you can’t take for granted or turn your back on. What if these springs all just dried up? Well, that would be the end of fishing in the park, no doubt. As scientific as geologists and foresters are, ground water is still a mysterious thing.

So, until next time when I’m back to catching fish, get out there and have fun.

Brook Trout Fishing in 2011 – It’s Time!

Sounds Exciting

The weather forecast for last Friday was for a warm day, into the 70s. So I started watching the temperature each day in anticipation, planning to take the day off to try to catch some brook trout in Shenandoah National Park for the first time this year. Friday’s weather ended up being similar to Thursday’s, but a little warmer and with wind gusts to 30 mph. Minus the wind, it would have been ideal. For the middle of February, it still was. No one can complain about a sunny, 70 degree day in the last few weeks of winter even if it means your rusty casting skills are going to be tested by that stiff breeze. I decided to head out around 8:00 and drive to a stream in the park that I had never fished before.

Three things are unfortunate for each and every one of you who reads this. The first is that this is a stream I rarely hear mentioned, and since I’ve discovered it is a great stream, I will not name it. No stream in the park is such a big secret, though. Everyone knows that just about every stream there has at least some brook trout. So get a map, find the blue lines and head out there. That’s what I do, with the occasional hint from a few books and reports found among those who do the same. I had been eying this stream on the map for a while, but without confirmation of what’s there and knowing that a poor fishing spot means an entire day “wasted” (as wasted as a bad day of hiking and fishing can be), I’ve just never checked it out. Coupled with what looked like some questionable access on the map and some roads that seemed more like suggestions, I wasn’t sure what I would be driving into. But I figured now was the time to see. Worst case was I’d be outside sunning myself in the middle of February.

The second unfortunate thing for you is that you were not out there on Friday. No one was out there. Maybe you convinced yourself to save those vacation days for April and May, when the fishing is no doubt at its best in the park. Maybe you thought stiff winds smothering your casts wasn’t worth it. Maybe you figured since it’s a three day weekend, you’d head up there on Monday, the Presidents’ Day Holiday, because you know many have to work and won’t be out there trampling on your favorite spots. Whatever the reason, I saw no one all day once I got inside the park boundary. That’s not unusual, but it still amazes me.

First Brook Trout 2011
Nice Little Mountain Brookie

The third unfortunate thing is that you missed out on some great dry fly fishing in the afternoon. Despite the breeze, I found enough sheltered spots and enough will and technique to get a size 14 Adams where I wanted it to go most of the time. Cutting the wind with a big dry fly and having fish take it, even if they were a little slow, in FEBRUARY, 70 degrees, everyone else is at work… mana.

The stream was right at 40 degrees when I got there. By the time I left it had probably hit 43, according to my very hard to read thermometer. Definitely at least 42. That small warm up seemed to be all it took to get the brookies hitting dry flies drifted over their snouts. Since I wanted to explore this stream a bit, I had first walked upstream a few miles, then turned around and targeted some pools and runs that I then fished upstream in short segments. In the first several pools I had no luck. Then finally a good sized brookie hit my fly. It was a fat male still colored nicely, and as I lazily hoisted him he flipped off back into the pool. Awesome! I ended up not catching as many fish as I would in April or May, but these were all decent fish, similar to the one pictured which was the last one I caught and the slimmest.

Unnamed Stream
Nice Little Stream

As is the case every time I fly fish, I learned or re-learned a few things. It’s been months since I’ve fished a small mountain trout stream, and I think the reason it took me a while to land the first one was impatience. I was not fishing out every pool thoroughly. On a warm winter day, it seemed even more important to give the fish a few looks at the fly rather than one or two drifts like you’d expect in the prime time of spring. The ones I caught were taken after I floated the fly by several times, and the takes were slow, not the lighting fast strikes of spring, summer and fall. The desperate little creatures must think something like this: “Man, I’m sick of winter… Hey, was that a fly floating by? Ain’t it a little early? There goes another. Didn’t realize I was hungry. And there goes — I’m snaggin’ it!” So once I slowed down and methodically fished every seam and pocket I was successful.

I also tried another dry fly floatant, Gink. This stuff works really well. I treated the fly when it was bone dry, and until it was taken and slimed, all it needed was a good shake to restore its high-floating ways. I’ve got another dry fly floatant to try next time. The stuff I’ve been using most recently, Loon Aquel, is also good. I would have to try both side-by-side to really compare them. There are so many dry fly floatants and I’ve only tried a few. Most are silicone, so maybe they’re all actually the same. I don’t really know for sure.

Anyway, the season is upon us. Winter is revisiting for the next few days, but spring is coming quickly. Get ready.

Winter Non-Fishing Report

Richmond Fishing Expo
Winter Time Means Fishing Shows

It’s the middle of winter. It may not be the official midpoint of the season, but we are smack in the middle of cold air, wind and frozen water around here. Just thinking about March gets me excited, but then it hits me: March is just another month of winter, with some nice days thrown in every few years to keep you hopeful.

The fly fishing shows are a nice distraction this time of year. In a little over a month, the Rapidan TU fishing show will be held, Feb. 26 2011 at the Fauqier High School in Warrenton, Virginia.

But since you’re curious about the fishing, the Virginia Outdoor Report sums up our fishing nicely:

  • Beaverdam Reservoir: Eddie Hester reports that not many anglers have braved the cold weather; so he has nothing to tell us. The water is in the 40s and clear.
  • Virginia Beach: Captain Jim says that things are “as cold as I’ve ever seen”, and it’s “not a good time to be a fisherman”. He predicts that there will be no good action until things warm up. The water is 38 degrees and clear.
  • Upper and Lower Tidal James: No report.
  • North Landing River and Back Bay: Dewey Mullins says that things have been iced over for the last 4 to 5 weeks; so no anglers.
  • Lake Gordon: I hope I never have to use these words again this year “I have not been fishing!”
  • Sandy River and Briery Creek: No report.

And on and on. That is a real mid-winter fishing report. Cold water, slow fishing and ice that’s not thick enough to ice fish in most places. There are fish being caught, sure, but it’s slow. New Year’s Day gave me a little entertainment, but nothing since then.

But then there’s Lake Anna, warmed by the cooling waters of its nuclear reactors: Stripers – they are biting. Bass – they are chasing bait fish. White Perch – they are active, too. Lake Anna and maybe the Dickerson Power Plant in Maryland, which I may try to hit in the next couple weeks to give my switch rod a workout.

In the meantime, I have been buying supplies and tying flies, will post some pictures soon. Got some midges and brassies, some big Clouser Minnows for pickerel this summer, lots of woolly buggers and whatever else I can learn until it warms up a little.

Big Stony Creek on New Year’s Day

Rainbow Trout, Big Stoney Creek, Virginia
Rainbow Trout, Big Stoney Creek, Virginia

Great way to start off the New Year. I had never fished Big Stony Creek, near Edinburg, Virginia. I headed out there late in the morning and drove all over the place. There are several stocked sections that are signed, but much of the stream was iced over and actually looked a little low to me. I parked several miles upstream from I-81 at one of the stocked sections and spent a couple hours trying everything except dry flies — bead head nymphs, a BWO emerger, even a black woolly bugger. I even swam the bugger under the sheet ice through what looked like some pretty deep holes. I saw nothing. After enough of that I decided to head back.

After driving for a little while I passed a fishy looking spot further downstream and on a whim decided to give it a try. I caught this guy dead drifting a Copper John through a deep run. Only fish of the day, but a pretty one. Made it all worthwhile.