The last few weeks have been hectic. A lot of changes have happened in my life recently and it has kept me off the water. That’s why when I saw a window last Sunday, I took the opportunity to visit one of my favorite streams.
Although it is spring down here in Maryland, the weather on Sunday starkly contrasted with the beautiful weather during the work week. It was raw, cold, and at times snowy. In other words, perfect fishing weather with almost guaranteed solitude. And that was the case as I pulled into a spot that usually sees very heavy pressure.
I started out below a foot bridge and soon felt the familiar tug of a wild brown trout at the end of my line. The next two hours were slow, but every fish I hooked was above average for this stream. Although the takes were subtle in the cold water, the fights were absolutely incredible.
As I landed another fish, I saw a car slow down and pull into the spot I was fishing. My guard immediately went up as I thought that this guy was either a novice or mooch trying to get in on my fish. After a while, the older gentleman walked by with a Euro rod in hand and asked how the fishing was. We got to talking and five minutes later, we were at his truck talking strategy and trading flies and fishing stories. It turns out that he’d crossed paths with George Daniel and tied flies for another Team USA member. The flies he tied were absolutely incredible and he had over a dozen boxes full of every sort of fly you could imagine! I offered to share my spot, but he declined to go fish further downstream and we wished each other luck. The moral of the story: always be friendly.
The bite really turned on around noon. The olives were starting to move, but the wind kept the bite subsurface. I floated the bobber at one large wintering hole and caught a pile of browns and suckers. It got to the point where I could call each take as I fished the far seam. Eventually I tallied the score and decided to drive further upstream to find some rising fish.
This section of river was a little narrower and well canopied, but I still couldn’t escape the wind. The slower pools were a bust for rising fish, but I noticed some dimples in the back eddies of deeper pockets. Instead of rigging up my five weight, I fished a Euro dry-dropper and was immediately on fish. It was one of the greatest 15 minute stretches of my life as I caught and released several browns on the dry and the dropper. One fish refused the dry on one drift, only to nail the dropper on the next. Preposterous, considering how difficult this stretch usually is.
Noticing the time, I reluctantly wrapped up and headed home. All said, this was one of the greatest days of solo fishing I’ve ever had. I reflected on this time later the same week and realized how incredibly thankful I am to be able to enjoy all this. Jo called me on the way home excitedly regaling me about his day on the water. It was great to catch up with a good friend and to share our moments of triumph. There are few things in life and fly fishing better than this.