Tuesday, May 20, 2014

With a Demon in my Hands

With a Demon in my Hands
  My plan was to head to Potter County and dry fly fish Kettle Creek and surrounding creeks. For the 4th weekend in a row the rain during the week left the streams high and running fast. On Friday the water gauge spiked upward on both Kettle Creek and Young Womans Creek. Only getting about 14 mpg on my van I decided it wasn’t worth taking a chance driving all that way and find it wasn’t worth fishing. Instead I opted and took my chance on heading to the Black Moshannon State Park.
  I wasn’t in a hurry and arrived at the creek around 11:30 in the morning. The air was cold between the mountains in the valley so I dressed warm both top and bottom. I’m sure in town there were people wearing ‘T’ shirts but the overcast sky and the cool breeze that swept through the forest would be unpredictable down along the creek.
  I selected and pieced together my Hardy Demon 3 weight 7’ fly rod for the narrow laurel and hemlock lined creek. I grabbed my vest with an assortment of offerings and headed to the creek between the branchy young bare trees and shrubs. The tea stained water was flowing high and fast but along the banks it slowed some and slowed enough before log jams to get a well weighted streamer or nymph near the bottom. I knotted on a Woolly Bugger and proceeded to try and coax some wild trout to take my offerings.
  It wasn’t long before a sharp tug flexed the 3 weight and the fight was on. I forgot all about the price of gas and the minimal gas mileage on my conversion van. I forgot all about those ‘T’ shirt clad town folks enjoying the warmth given off by the blacktop streets by the occasional sun rays that seeped through the moving cloud cover. As I played the trout, towards me, in the on coming current I was in my own little world with no worries.
The brook trout showed its wildness with the darting and lively fight beneath the water and showed off its fancy colorful body in the net out of the water.
 It wasn’t long that another wild brook flexed the 3 weight and I gained confidence that there would be more to follow.
With the overshadowing clouds I didn’t stray too far down creek from the van fearing it may rain. Within the next hour I was right and returned for my rain coat. After a brief shower the sky opened to sunshine and the warmth soaked through my clothes. I returned to the van to drop off my raincoat and lit up a Churchill. I was figuring on taking my time making my way between the tree lined creek down stream till I got tired or darkness arrived.

 I slowly waded my way down creek. My casts were sharp avoiding the overhanging branches and laurel. I let the Woolly Bugger drop as nearer to the far banks as possible with enough slack in the line so the bugger would drop deeper before being carried down creek. I adjusted the weight I used, adding or removing, lead strips or split shot depending on the swiftness of the current or deepness of the run. Some areas I felt looked better lies for trout I’d stick around a little longer before moving on. I was rewarded occasionally with yanking tugs or just kept entertained by the swiping misses.

 My cast, from the right bank toward the far bank, was spot on and dropped the bugger just before the over hanging laurel leaves. The bugger dropped deeper and began to swing down stream beneath the branchy leaves. The current pushed my fly line down creek and the bugger, on the end of the tippet, began to curve towards the middle of the creek. Once it reached its limit I twitched the rod tip and began a slow retrieve. Wham! A quick tug tightened the line and flexed the rod in a big arc, I had another trout on. The swift current made for a hairy struggle trying to get the fish nearer to me. I could tell by the weight and fight this wasn’t an average trout for this small stream. I decided to swing him towards my side of the bank towards the slower current than to fight him towards me in the swifter water. He surfaced a couple of times so I tilted my rod towards the surface water trying to keep him below the faster force of the surface water. Holding the 7’ rod high enough I got the nice brown trout netted. His dark spotted sides resembled a leopard with the addition of a few red spots towards the rear end.

 Within two more casts, a bit down creek, I had another. The weight of the fish felt the same as the last and as the fish surfaced I could see I had another nice brown trout. This trout was more reluctant to enter the net as the last. After a bit of struggling to get him to enter, the hook let loose and I lost him. I grumbled under my breath but knew that’s the way it goes sometimes. It wasn’t long after that I felt a cold breeze blow down from the mountain tops. The clouds covered any sun rays that bled through and I smelled the moisture before it even started to sprinkle rain drops. I slowly waded my way down creek looking for a path along the creek to escape should it rain harder.
  It didn’t take too long and the sprinkles became big drops of rain. I exited the creek and stood beneath the dense pine limbs that all but blocked the sky above. The rain fell with more abundance and the darkening of the forest around me told me this rain shower wasn’t going to just ’pass over.’ By the time I reached the road the rain drops had turned to hail. Yes, there I was walking up the road, without a coat or rain gear, being pelted by small stone sized hail. By the time I got to the van, which was maybe 300 yards away, I was pretty well soaked. I took off my outer clothes, started the van and warmed myself up till the hail storm blew over.
Putting on some dryer clothes I loaded my fishing raincoat with my fly fishing boxes and stuff and went back out hoping for some evening hatch. Well the hatch never came but I did manage a few more trout and caught a couple of unexpected chubs when I nymph fished for a short time before calling it quits.

 Sunday I awoke to sunshine and a bit warmer weather…and a cold. I dressed warm and decided to drive down creek a ways for newer territory. With the Demon in my hands and a good cigar between my teeth I managed a few more trout. Standing under the sun felt good as I watched for any mayflies or rises upon the small pool before me. I did try a couple of mayfly dries but it was more for casting practice than to really expect to catch a fish.


 Just another day enjoying the outdoors, spite the weather!


  1. it seems if we are to get any fishing done this month you have to fight the weather. Heading down to Central PA this evening for a few days of fishing and it doesn't look that great at all with the recent rains but we will have fun regardless. Keep at em.

    1. that's why i hit the black moshannan creek. most others were too high to fish. good luck. i heard the sulphurs were starting to pop the past week.