And the sins of UVA, were washed away….

6/25/13 0700-1230
Dry River
Harrisonburg, VA
Andy Boryan and Dan Leach
Air temp – 68-78
Water temp – 60-63
Mostly Cloudy, min breeze
BWO size 18, midges 22-24, One Hendrickson spotted!











Residency ended last week for Dan Leach and me. A celebration fishing trip was in order. Dan was sporting a brand new vest courtesy of his wife, and I was sporting a new WF 4W line on my Orivs Superfine.  Things were looking up.  Fortunately, so were the trout.

The trip began, as all merry forested jaunts do, with a tasty, grease loaded fast food breakfast.  Ours was courtesy of Chic-fil-A.  One of us may or may not have made a homophobic joke at the pick up window.

The truck was parked in the secret 33W location known only to a select few.  Waders donned and rods strung up.  The hike to first pool was short and in the first few casts Dan had three rises, but no hook-ups.  The flows are getting low.  The fish are beginning to pod up in the only safe stretches of water and they were far spookier than previous trips this year.  We moved to the next pool which proved to be the bonanza of the trip for more than one reason (see below).  The first few casts provided some larger than usual Salvelinus fontinalis.



After thoroughly working the tail of the pool for about thirty minutes, Dan switched his fly to my personal favorite the Royal Wulff and sent a beautiful shot into the front of the main riffle.  He hooked into what in my assessment is one of the biggest wild brook trout ever seen in the Dry River.  There are certainly larger brookies in this river, but their pale bodies and chewed up fins belie their true origin.






We didn’t have a tape measure, but it was clear this was probably a 25″ 3 pound brook trout. Continuing downstream we plied a few more pools with varying levels of success. The sun which previously had been below the tree line keeping the river in shade was high in the sky brightly illuminating the runs which held the most fish.  We made it all the way down to the Reynold’s hole where Dan lost in successive casts 3 flies.  Some cursing ensued as the hourglass on our trip was running low.


We moved quickly upstream to the parking lot casting a caddis to only the best looking lies.  Upon returning to the pool of previous success (see above), we decided on a spontaneous ritual cleansing. We spent three years toiling away in the fluorescent lit, cold, soul sucking halls of the University of Virginia Hospital And Miracle Center; the only way to renew our souls for the next foray into service was through a baptism in the cool, clear, sunlit, refreshing waters of the Commonwealth of Virginia…

Dry River pool

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A Presidential Dove?

Tucker and I are officially on the boards this hunting season. After a couple of fruitless trips to the local WMA’s we bagged our first dove of the season. Thanks to a very gracious attending, I was able to hunt on a private farm not far from an American history icon. James Madison was instrumental in the writing of the Constitution and was the fourth president of the USA. He is also the namesake of my undergraduate institution. Montpelier was his family home and is situated in a beautiful part of Virginia.

There were not a lot of dove flying around. However, beside a source of water we heard some dove calling to each other with their distinctive perch–coo. My rendition was hardly convincing.

At least Tucker was fooled by my dove calling

A single bird saw me walking near his perch and took off flying across my shooting lane. I dropped him cleanly at 50 yards with one shot. The small herd of cattle feeding nearby weren’t sure if that shot was a signal for feeding time or an unwelcome intruder. Fortunately, for the intruder, they only came within 100 yards to check me out. Tucker went right to the bird, but he still struggles with giving it to me cleanly. Luckily he didn’t bruise the meat.

It took a lot for Mr. Tucker to hold still

As the sun set over the mountains and the shooting hours drew to an end Tucker and I began the short walk back to the truck. The weather was perfect. I almost needed my shooting vest. The scenery was the definition of idyllic and it was neat to think that James Madison may have wandered these fields himself 200+ years ago…

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The Montana Series: Kootenai River Part 1

On August 4th, 2012 the Boryan men headed west. Montana is where it all began for the American strain of Boryans. We flew into Spokane, WA where we rented a masculine truck minivan and Chris steered us towards Libby, Montana. We were headed for the Bett’s Cabin at Kootenai Angler. Dave Blackburn is the proprietor of said establishment and has thirty years of experience guiding on the river. He also owns a fair amount of land on a prime piece of the river. We stayed in a cabin literally 30 yards from the high water mark. The first thing I did was don my waders and head out to the current seam. My first victim fell for a swung partridge and orange; there was a caddis hatch going on.

Here is a view from the home pool behind Dave Blackburn’s Kootenai Angler

We spent the remainder of the day Saturday talking about how lucky we were to finally be in Montana. Sunday we went exploring in the town of Libby and drove up to the Libby Dam.

The view from the base of Libby Dam

We fished below the dam and met some locals. Dad and I ventured up a tributary of the Kootenai called Fisher Creek. Hiding behind a sagebrush as we pulled down the dirt road in our awesome 4×4 off roading 16″ clearance minivan were two turkeys! Unfortunately, the water temp was 72 F, a little too warm for trout.

Fisher Creek looking east.

Both evenings were spent at The River Bend Restaurant where we consumed tasty prime rib and quaffed some local brew.
Monday morning was a 0700 wake up with my favorite type of coffee. The Percolator.
The float trip was absolutely amazing. There are no other words to describe it. I had a lot of expectations in my mind about what it meant to fly fish in Montana. I expected large, wild, colorful rainbows to see my fly, poorly presented on account of the wind, and just skip the whole fly to jaw connection and jump into the driftboat for a “hero shot.” Honestly, a couple of hook-ups went exactly like that. We started about a mile or so downstream of the dam. The riffle Dave took us to was already in the midst of a caddis hatch with plenty of fish looking up and sipping emergers. In the preceding months my brother refused to let me teach him how to cast. He wanted a professional guide to mold him “the way a Marine sergeant molds an eager infantryman.” Dave’s instruction needed only a couple casts and Chris was into his first fish on the fly!

My brother’s first western rainbow on the fly

My dad was up next and he caught his share of fish as well, including this interesting fish.

A lake rainbow that made it through the turbines with some scratches

Dad’s first Montana trout

The next stop on our idyllic float was next to the portion of the Kootenai where the aforementioned Fisher Creek enters. Dave said this warmer water influx harbored the possibility of some westslope cutthroat. We switched from caddis emergers to a large hopper pattern. I think Dave was somewhat impressed by my casting and line control but I definitely knocked myself down a couple pegs by missing some pretty obvious strikes from what were clearly large fish. Persistence paid off; at the top of the “home pool” I hooked into the largest fish I was to catch that trip. A little bit over seventeen inches. I had to fight that fish for almost ten minutes before we got him boated.

fighting the brute


17″ is a large rainbow for the Kootenai. Because the water is all glacial runoff, it lacks many of the nutrients found on tailwaters such as the Missouri and Madison. What the fish lack in overall length, they MORE than make up for in spirit. These fish are all native and wild fish. The Kootenai eventually drains into the Columbia which drains into the Pacific. There are numerous dams blocking passage from Pacific to Libby in 2012, but pre 20th century these fish shared genes with the same rainbows that promoted the large stockings all across the US Even the 8″ fish that you hook into in this river had the ability to bend my six weight almost in half.

Small, but mighty

We took a midday beer-fueled nap and met up with dave at the base of the dam to float a different section in the evening. Halfway to the take-out we ended up in the middle of what I can only describe as a PMD explosion. At one point it seemed like the water was boiling as we spent about thirty to forty minutes hammering this riffle. The fish didn’t care that they were being lined every other cast or so. It was almost unfair.

We ended the evening on the famous home pool during what Dave called the Happy Hour Caddis Hatch. My brother couldn’t stop hooking into these fish. Again, they weren’t breaking the ruler but they put up one hell of a fight.

Part of a “daily double”

Our first float trip in Montana was everything we dreamed it would be, and somehow a little more. It’s not often that all three Boryan men can get together. Occasionally when I make it home for the weekend, there will be a fifteen minute time span where we are all in the kitchen or living room together, but it’s fits and spurts. Our first float trip was the longest time we’d spent together in recent memory and Dave Blackburn did a fantastic time providing the vehicle, the scenery, the instruction, and most importantly put us on some truly fantastic fish. We couldn’t wait for day two…

Can you spot the bald eagle?

The Kootenai facing north with dam over Fisher’s Creek in the bottom left

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Bodo’s and Bass

Rivanna River
Air temp – 75
Flows 190 cfs at Palmyra
Water Clarity – clear and low
Hatch Activity – size 4-10 red and green damselflies and dragonflies.

It is not every morning that two senior anesthesia residents can get out for a few hours on the water. Today, Dan Leach joined the ranks of Bass Assassin. The Rivanna has been a fickle creature this season. The flows have either been too high and stained, or way too low and boiling hot. Not today; conditions were perfect. In the span of one hour, Dan and I hooked into and landed three 15″ plus fish. I’m talking about the kind of toads that can barely get out of the water for the leap, and when they come back down they make a big splash! Each fish was one where you wished you had a net. Dan brought his up from the depths of a deep bank side pool with an overhanging sycamore branch.


My two toads were tricked while sitting comfortably in about 9 inches of water. Each take was a subtle sip; not unlike a brown trout confidently taking mayflies. After a long hot summer of not so stellar smallmouth fishing, it’s nice to see the Rivanna start to yield again…20120824-112327.jpg


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Trophy Largemouth

Dave Peterson caught the largemouth of a lifetime 4 days ago.


The whole ordeal began innocently enough. The previous day we tried to fit a quarter ton of man into “old leaky” to ply a local pond. Dave, Pete and I were trading jabs and tossing poppers when Pete hooked into one of the several 10-12″ inch largemouth which inhabit the pond. As he was reeling in said fish, I heard Dave exclaim, “oh my gosh. Look at at that fish”. Apparently this struggling fish caught the attention of a very large bass who came up to investigate and promptly darted away upon sighting the boat. We all commented on how sweet it would be to catch that fish.
The next day Dave and I set out to the same portion of the pond to try to lure said monster, recently dubbed the monarch of the lake. We caught a handful of smaller bass and a few large beautiful sunfish. When we approached the monarchs’ redd, I cast to his area and immediately snagged on a bush. We rowed over to release the snag and saw said monarch spook as we floated closer.
Our heart rates elevated we rowed further from the bank to give him some time to rest. Dave tied on a large frog popper pattern. On his fifth cast, he saw a large shadow move toward his popper. He didn’t want to say anything for fear of jinxing himself. All I heard from the bow moments later was “Boryan….BORYAN……… AHHHHHHH”. I looked back just in time to see the monarch rise out of the water. It was a short and intense fight on Dave’s 6 weight but he efficiently landed him.

The rest as they say is history




Final tally. 22 inches. 7 pounds.

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A Guest Post; and some updates on the radio silence

The Sporting Physicians would like to apologize for the radio silence of late. We just spent the last seven days on a fly fishing bonanza. We travelled through four states (and one district) and fulfilled our goal of catching and netting nine varieties of freshwater and saltwater species. We are sunburnt, all argued out and fully recharged for a return to the OR after this holiest of holidays. We have many stories and photos too share but need to put in some time with the family.

I had the fortune of recently working with a very bright medical student at UVA. William politely requested to be let out a few hours early on a Friday to have some fishing time with his family. I not so politely informed him that if he darkened the door of my OR that day I would promptly fail him. For my largesse he promised me a guest post and some photos.  His story offers a different perspective than usually seen on the SP.  He also features a nice Easter twist! Enjoy.

William Borch and Family
Dundee Creek off the upper Chesapeake, near Joppa, MD
Air temp 60 deg F
Water temp 50 deg F
Conditions: Overcast; sporadic light to moderate rainfall with muddy water.
Winds ~5mph.

My brother and Dad and I got our first opportunity to line our schedules up and hit the water together this year, and of course Murphy’s Law would dictate that our Saturday would be cold and rainy. But it didn’t matter – it was a great day to be out on the water.

We were out for yellow perch. My brother Jim had been following the fishing reports on the DNR website and he was determined to find them. He bought a decent sized fishing boat a couple years back for a great price: the kind of price that demands a lot of love and effort to get the thing floating and working again. Jim thought she was ready to float, so Dad and I helped him get her into the water at the marina and with a little trepidation we climbed aboard.

She floated. The engine started. And there we were at 8:45 AM in light, cold rain out on the water with the widening creek mouth in front of us. Once clear of the marina, she was ready to fly and Jim gunned the throttle—unfortunately, little happened. Apparently the “putt-putt” speed she had so far was all she had in her until Jim could get her back in the garage to tinker with her engine a little more.

The prospect of going out into the Bay proper with an unreliable engine was not appealing. I wanted to spend the day fishing, not rowing, so the three of us decided that chasing the perch would have to wait for another day.

We dropped anchor where we were, in the middle of the creek at about 6 feet of depth and a few blips on the fish finder. Each of us tied on small jig hooks on light tackle on a couple rods each and for bait we used the simple and classic nightcrawler. We cast them out about 15-20 feet and just let them sit on the bottom while we watched and shivered through the spotty rains.

An hour passed and nothing happened. I pulled in one of the lines and tried to jig in a white Mr. Twister instead, probably more to keep myself warm and focused than anything else. A half hour more of this and still nothing.

By now the rain had tapered off, and we began to watch large silvery forms smash the surface near the shallows by the banks on the north side of the creek. I had no idea what they were (Jim said he thought they were carp and Dad agreed), but we decided it was time to move and try something new. So we pulled the lines in and moved toward the action and tried again. The chorus of chirps from our fish finder sounded promising.

I threw in a generously-baited jig hook and within about 30 seconds the tip of my rod gave that tell tale twitch that warms every angler to the core, no matter how cold and wet he is. I cautiously picked up the rod and set the hook, and immediately my reel was screaming. This fish was big. He kept making long sweeping runs from side to side, and on my small ultralight trout rod it was all I could do to keep him from getting tangled in the prop. In about 5 or 6 minutes he was tired and I got him up to Jim’s net. Bingo! A healthy sized channel catfish, our first fish of the day; we threw him onto the ice in the cooler and eagerly threw our lines back in for more.

Dad was next. He pulled in a 5 inch white perch – definitely not eating size, but since we were in good catfish territory, he cut it up and each of us put a chunk on our lines.

The cut-up white perch proved to be the magic bait. Left and right we pulled in channel cats and bullheads and into the cooler they went. And for a bonus, Dad pulled in a couple large eels, both of which almost escaped by squirming through the mesh of the net.

By 1:30 PM, the rains returned and the winds picked up. We had the cooler well stocked at this point and we were running out of perch to bait the hooks. We decided to call it a day and chugged our way back to the ramp.

The fruit of our labors was about 10 cats and 2 eels. Jim took them home and cleaned and vacuum sealed them and threw them in the freezer. This year our Easter dinner appetizer will feature blackened catfish and smoked eel – a worthy prize for setting out on Dundee Creek in a fix-me-up boat on a cold and rainy March Saturday, and not a bad alternative to yellow perch.

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Shad Cam Snapshots

Unfortunately, the shad cam is offline on account of muddy, high water. The VDGIF says they will turn it back on when the water levels are more appropriate. I saved some eye candy from my time monitoring the shad cam.

3 shad passing through

seven shad, a small school

an early catadromous morning eel

an anadromous and a catadromous species together

a local largemouth going for a cruise

a quillback?

Hooked on Destin has a nice list with pictures of saltwater fish with a brief description.
It’s worth reading the viewing window specs from the Shad cam website. They discuss the length markings and distortion from the thick glass.
Hoping for these water levels to settle down as the sporting physicians will be meeting up to combine forces for shad fishing this weekend!

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“Hey you kids…get out of my lake!”

with Dave Peterson and Pete Schmidt
Suburban lake outside of Charlottesville
Air temp – 70 degrees F
Water temp – 62 degrees F
Water clarity – visibility approx 2 feet
hatch activity – none

“Old Leaky” (my affectionate name for the fiberglass canoe I own which fails at it’s number one task) took some extra hits yesterday. Dave and Pete came over for some lake fishing as the sun was getting low and we didn’t have time to drive to the mountains. No sooner did we get the canoe to the lake then Dave took a step on the bottom and we heard another crack. In a few minutes greater than 500 pounds of men were stressing my shoddy marine epoxy and the crack Dave made was real, Old Leaky was taking on water. The only implement on board for bailing was Pete’s Dr. Pepper.
Dave rigged up with some questionable “lures” and the banter began.

Pete: “We aren’t even fly casting now, it’s just bait fishing with fly tackle”
Dave rows faster, Pete leaves his line trailing as we paddle
Pete:”Now we aren’t even bait casting we’re trolling…oh wait, FISH ON!”

Dave: “If Pete sticks his penis in this fish, will that make your blog?”
Me: “Absolutely not, children read this blog!”
Pete: “No one reads your blog!”

The fishing was actually quite good. I, of course caught more fish than Dave who continued to blame his lost fish on my line getting in his way, the wind changing directions, and one point even accused Pete of skulduggery. With each new bass we caught Dave would wax poetic on the difference between a spotted bass and a largemouth bass. He of course had no idea what the true difference was; he just used the same defense mechanism most boisterous med students employ. As long as you are loud and wrong, you still sound intelligent. This is the best drawing I have found to illustrate the difference. The primary difference being a prominent lateral line with clearly visible spots.

Difficult to ascertain, but no visible spots, likely a young largemouth














The majority of excitement was catching various sized crappie. I think both the crappie and largemouth are beginning to spawn and that is why we caught so many fish on flashy streamers. They were just defending their “territory” I of course have no idea what I’m talking about, but will say it loudly here on the interwebs.

Our trip came of an abrupt end when I got scared about the visible lightning and audible thunder coming from the west. cue the peanut gallery poking fun, and then instantly arguing over the ability for different materials to conduct electricity. Paddling home across the lake we were greeted by the gruff voice a middle aged lady demanding to know “Hey, where do you kids live!” I was immediately transported back to some of my trespassing days of yore. Fortunately, this encounter didn’t end with the police being called.

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Bass Fishin’

This might be the greatest thing I ever heard….

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Shad Cam is Online

The Shad Cam at Bosher’s Dam came online this morning. Around 6am, I saw a lot of American eel moving through

A passing shad

Seeing shad moving through with some regularity

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