A Slow Day in March
With a few warmer days in early March and the stocking of trout in some of the project areas I decided to go fishing on Tuesday. In Pennsylvania there is no fishing in approved trout waters from the 1st of March until the first day of trout season in April except for special regulated waters. I headed to Volant, early Tuesday, to meet up with a few friends and fish the Neshannock Creek.
The nymph fishermen were in the ‘cast, drift, follow, recast, drift, follow’ routine as I expected. A couple of guys with spinning outfits were throwing hardware out and about taking notice of the indicators the nymph guys were using. Though the water was cloudy and the trout possibly being in a lethargic state, I attached a Woolly Bugger and began to swing and dead drift it without an indicator. I figured, until I see the nymph fishermen starting to catch fish, I’ll stick with the buggers and streamers.
A guy up creek caught a couple of suckers on sucker spawn. The first trout I seen caught, in some time, was a guy fishing a run with a stonefly nymph. I switched to nymph fishing briefly and without any success went back to buggers.
I was down creek when I had my first strike. The trout hit the bugger so hard it busted off the 5x tippet just below the knot. And I thought the trout were lethargic! I knotted on a length of 4x tippet and continued with a white bugger. I noticed the two spin fishermen, throwing hardware, hooked into a couple trout which gave me a little more confidence to keep using streamers.
Nearing noon the outside temperature warmed with the sun and I was hoping the water was warming also. The water didn’t appear to be clearing up any but it was pleasant enough outside that it didn’t appear anyone was leaving.
It was a long cast towards the far bank. As soon as the bugger hit the water I mended the fly line up creek in order to let the bugger drop deeper before the current swept the fly line down creek. The slower current, where my bugger dropped, pushed my bugger towards a stronger wavy current between two near surface boulders. As the bugger started to move into the seam, between the boulders, I felt the hurried grab and set the hook with a sharp upward lift of the rod. I felt the heavy fish swim into the stronger current behind the nearest submerged boulder and continued into the rougher water down creek. I had a good grip on the rod and let some line slip off the reel as I waded back towards the bank. I was trying to get him into the slower current near my side of the bank but he was putting up a good fight in the stronger current. Once nearer to me I saw the white bugger on his lip. I scooped him up and finally had my first fish of the day.
For about the next half hour I fished the white Woolly Bugger without a strike. I didn’t notice any of the nymph fishermen doing any better. I broke for lunch and met up with my friends. We enjoyed wine, cheese, crackers as well as pepperoni and peperoncini’s in the parking lot.
After lunch I lit up a Romeo y Julieta cigar and headed back to the water. It was still slow going as I began a little up creek from where I started in the morning. After about a half hour I waded to the bank and started down creek. You know it’s a good cigar when a guy, just down creek, asked what I’m smoking because it sure smelled good!!
The water had risen some and more slabs of ice were floating down creek so I had to be careful wading. I continued with an assortment of streamer trying to cover as much water as I could. It wasn’t till a guy next to me was hooking up time and again on nymphs that I decided to change to the dark side. I tied on a weighted black stonefly nymph and a beaded black stonefly as a dropper. I ended catching two more browns before calling it quits, one brown I caught using an indicator and one without.
I wasn’t out of the parking lot before lighting up a Montecristo Classic for the drive home!