Fri. Mar. 20, 2015…..I think spring is here. A busy week, the busiest all year, on the water a lot, enjoyed everything from 15 to 20F to 82F and everything in between. If it was sun,hot, cold, cloudy, wet, rain, snow, sleet, you name it I have been in it the last week. How do you go from cold to upper 70s to low 80s and fishing in short sleeves all day to a day and a half later fishing in heavy snow showers. REALLY?????? Springtime in the Appalachians is what you call it. A great week it has been though.
Yesterday was very interesting weather wise…I guided Wesley & Eli Gormus, from Richmond, VA, two regular clients that I get together with every year. I had mentioned in my report Thursday morning that the day could be epic w/ the nasty weather, a big fish day too as I felt the time was right for some bigs….really big….. I met Eli and Wes mid morning, we decided to get a leisurely start as it was cold and the forecast was rain to rain/snow to snow. I rigged each of their rods up with a right angle rig I have been using the past few months, using a Strike Foundry indi, and a pair of nymphs, one large attractor pattern followed by a large PT beadhead/flashback or a large Bead head hares ear…..two great spring nymph patterns.
We were into fish pretty quickly, the first 4 came on 2 doubles, one fish each for Eli and Wes, a fish on at the same time. Netted them, released them……repeat. Happened again, so a good start. We worked our way upstream, the water was right at 300cfs, or perfect for nymphing heavy rigs, and water was 42F. We also a short distance upstream from where we started ripped a few streamers…..which put several fish in the net up to 22″, many of them delivering arm jolting strikes as they would slam the streamer in mid presentation. Fish were podded up so where we caught fish we caught a good many. We fished all day in on /off rain/snow showers….which by midafternoon was all snow.
We fished our way upriver and finished at two of my favorite deep runs/holes, and caught several more nice rainbows and browns…..and Eli caught two ‘monstas’…..one of them a fish of nearly 30 inches and 10lbs that was lit up like a Santa suit…..bright red. We finished the day ripping streamers again, and caught a couple more fish. Then the guys decided to call it a day…it was near 6pm and still snowing and really cold and breezy.
I drove all the way back to NC/VA in the snow, some areas had a couple of inches or more. Its spring right? Strange…..but not out of the ordinary per se. Was looking back at my detailed fishing logs and the same thing happened last year same time. March 20, I drove through 6 to 10 inches of snow and it was so heavy driving in it at times that is was whiteout conditions. Made it back safely though, and really late. So this report is technically late I guess….but gotta sleep sometime!
Water’s really up all over VA, they have gotten so much snow and rain over the past three months. I went by the Jackson River, a river I used to fish and guide 80 days a year or more on, and that I still float and fish, and it was out of its banks. Highest I have ever seen it really. The Gathright Dam /Army Corps is dumping a ton of water. Makes it tough downriver on the James too, which is created by the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers near Iron Gate, VA. An inch of rain and a few inches of snow, as I drove through on the way back (below), will likely raise it a little more.
Posted some new doodads on our Online shopping cart, here are a few, all of them customers have been requesting. Its an assortment of items, from new slim fly boxes, leaf page boxes, divided fly cups, and indis. Here are a few of them below:
18 compartment JWFF Logo box above, a clear polystyrene box w foam dividers and a magnetic back, great for storing small flies, nymphs, etc., and it holds a ton of them. Our signature tailwater box, and great for a nymph box for anywhere. Click here to view or purchase. Logo fly that adorns our circle logo was pen and ink sketched by me. Check ‘em out here .
8 compartment JWFF Box (above) made of clear polystyrene box w foam dividers and a magnetic back, great for storing small flies, nymphs, etc., and it holds a ton of them. Our signature nymph box, and great for a nymph box for anywhere, lots of customers use these for a “stream specific” or seasonal box for seasonal patterns. Click here to view or purchase. Logo fly that adorns our circle logo was pen and ink sketched by me. Check ‘em out here .
JWFF Swingleaf Fly Box (above)….Our bread and butter nymph box features a swing leaf, this box holds over 500 nymphs and small flies.These boxes slip into shirt pockets, vests and packs. Light and accessible. Great box for all nymphs, great for dries too as it has plenty of room and won’t crush hackles. Durable because the fly ‘backs’ into the slot rather than hooking into the foam, so the foam never gets torn. This box holds a ton of flies, and especially so with the page in the middle , which holds flies on both sides, essentially doubling the capacity of this type of box. This type of fly box will hold more flies than any box you can use…literally holds an INSANE number of flies. 5.5″ x 3.5″ x 1.25″ Black. Click here to view or purchase.
New In-Line Suspender Strike Indicator. Our standard 3/4 inch in-line stealth indicator, the ultimate suspension tool from Strike Foundry. A smaller version, called the Lil’ Nugget, is available in 1/4 inch. Pick your color, 2 Strike Indicators per pack. Available in Chartreuse /Gray and Orange/Gray. I have used these extensively and they are fantastic. Easily castable, float like a cork, super sensitive, a variety of rigging options unlike other indicators. I still have the first one I started using and still use it as they don’t wear out. It’s in-line rigging allows for increased strike sensitivity and ease of mending as it rides high in the water. The two best things about this indicator however is it does not create kinks in your leader, and it’s strike sensitivity is unmatched. It is possible to switch from a nymph rig to a dry fly quickly without having any damage done to your leader like some of the more popular indicators do. Also the strike sensitivity is superb. In addition to the Indicators, included is a “Tips Sheet” on rigging them and using them, more tips than any currently advertised/sold on the market today. I will show you how I use them on guide trips both wade fishing and floating. I have four of these indicators I have put well over 250hours of fly fishing on, they have been cast, snagged, tangled, banged up on rocks, caught a ton of fish, beaten and banged up fishing from the driftboat, wade fishing on local waters, chasing the huge, trophy fish on our private waters…..all 4 are in just as good shape as when I first took them out of the package. Try that with another indicator. I could concievably see using one or two indicators per year if you can keep them from throwing them 20 feet up into a tree. They are indestructible. Im glad as I got tired of going through so many Thingmabobbers. When you are on the water almost everyday it is big deal to not go through so much terminal gear . Click here to view them or purchase.
Our customers love these guys, they are FREE with the purchase of a dozen of our fly patterns but are so handy that folks love them and end up keeping them for organizing. Keep several different flies in one place with this four compartment tethered fly cup. Made form durable clarified polypropylene 2.5″ x 7/8″ deep, perfect for holding a small assortment of flies. Also, great for not only organizing flies, beads, hooks, etc. and more. Imprinted with our JWFF logo. Click here to view or purchase .
Winter is fly tying season but so is spring if we have bad weather days or blowouts and that is always going to happen at some point. The above fly is a fantastic fly for trout and smallmouth, particularly our smallies on the New River. They absolutely eat it up. This was easily our #2 fly for streamer fishing last year on our smallmouth float trips. What’s #1? Let’s go fly fishing and I’ll give you a half dozen of them.
Pleased to be joining the Hatch Reels Pro Guide Team starting this spring. John Torok and Danny Ashcraft created this line of reels a little over 10 years ago and in that time Hatch is perhaps the premier fly reel at this time. Hatch is deeply rooted in not only the saltwater industry, but the freshwater and trout markets worldwide. Hatch is growing as the number one trending reel company in the world and this opportunity is a great way for you to set yourself and your company apart from the rest. Hatch is highly respected in the industry for developing the strongest and most durable reels for any situation that can be delivered. You can check out the Hatch Reel Line here .
Looks like this is well into the beginning of one of my busiest times of the year. Our Fly Fishing 101 class slated to begin in the next 2 weeks is full, have a full group of 12 and it will be fun to share the passion and how to of the sport to them. If its like usual, I’ll learn as much or more from them as they do me. In any case, it will be a blast for sure.
I have a guided trip to close out the week with a longtime client/friend Patrick McDaid , Greensboro, NC, and Patrick and I will be fishing an NC water including a stretch that isn’t trout water per se but holds a bunch of fish and always has. One of the benefits of what I do is having all sorts of places like that. And there are a bunch of them. You’d be shocked to know how many waters have trout but are not designated as trout water. It would surprise you. And as you might expect, I am pretty tight lipped about them. So glad trout, especially brown trout, who don’t read the reg books or signs about where they are or are not supposed to be……
Funniest quote or thing I’ve heard this week……“60% of the time, it works every time.” Right on man….
Have a great weekend……!
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My client Dr. Art Kriner, Greensboro, NC, and a nice 17.5″ wild brown trout that was where he wasn’t supposed to be……