Faling Spring Creek 2/2/12
Air Temp – 48 F
Water temp – 52 F
Cloudy 10-15mph winds from the west
Clarity – gin clear
Hatch activity – size 22 midge and size 18 BWO
There is nothing quite like fishing your home water. My first experience with a fly rod was courtesy of my Chemistry professor at JMU affectionately known at the local fly shop as Dancin’ Dan Downey. I cut my teeth on the Dry River in Harrisonburg, VA. However being from Chambersburg, PA I spent my formative years doing a lot of casting and not catching many fish on the Falling Spring. The fishery has been in decline for approximately twenty years now. Development and pollution have taken their toll on the benthic community. The fish are EXTREMELY spooky. Split shot is not an option and if you float a strike indicator of any kind over a feeding lane, a twelve inch rainbow will rise up to the surface and show you his middle finger for the insult. Like a whitetail deer flipping up his tail his subsequent darting under the overhanging bank will produce the same result from any nearby salmonids. This meant that my first fifty trips to my “home waters” were much less than fruitful. It also meant that I had to refine every aspect of my presentation as these fish didn’t tolerate any deviation from perfection. I learned to crawl on my hands and knees and cast from an almost prone position half submerged. I learned to read the current seams from eye level. I learned where to land the fly to get the perfect drag free drift. I also learned how to untangle a thousand knots. My cursing took on a whole new level of acrimony. But, this attention to detail and constant challenge is what draws many to fly fishing. It also makes that first fish brought to hand so much sweeter!
Sight fishing is the rule on the Falling Spring. Aimlessly casting to where you think a fish may be holding is rarely helpful. While walking the dog, I found a new pod of fish along the meadows section. I took Tucker home and went to Target to buy an underwater camera. I was inspired by the lastest Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast on Photography in Fly Fishing.
To catch a fish, you must think like the fish.
I crept into position. My weapon of choice was an unweighted 18 hare’s ear nymph purchased by my brother at the Orvis store in Arlingont, VA. The third drift resulted in this beautiful baby rainbow.
I learned that another word for a juvenile fish is a parr. The rounded spots you see on this young fish are called parr marks. They will fade away as this rainbow grows into a larger adversary.
I hooked into one larger fish after this little guy swam away. He leapt out of the water and shook my hook before I could start a viral version of his mug shot.
The weather was perfect for BWO activity but I think it was a little too windy. I saw a precious few alight from the surface. No rises.
Later in the evening my brother showed up with the best friend. My left foot was freezing (I still haven’t patched the waders) and the wind was picking up. Time to search for a suitable backdrop for one last picture
Stay tuned for Part 2. Bigger fish and better stories…