Lately, I have been going trout fishing, only to catch a bunch of smallmouth. Even through the past week’s unseasonably cool summer mornings and evenings, trout have been few and far between on my favorite creeks and streams. Though it fishes so well, I tend to avoid The Gunpowder in the summer months, for it overflows with tubers and convoys of kayakers. But like a true addict, I have been itching for some trout–and so it didn’t take long for the racing piscatorial thoughts in my head to drive me back to my beloved tailwater.
I hit it hard this past Sunday with my buddies Phil and Bryan (not to mention a celebrity guest appearance by Saltwater Steve). We were up with the sun, a tank full of coffee, with an unusually chilly August morning to cut the edge of exhaustion. We learned quickly that it was a tad bit chilly to be wet wading (again, this was quite strange for the month of August), and I smiled as Phil let out a quiet howl as he slid down the bank of the upper river into the brisk water. Fog hung thick in the morning air, the sun wouldn’t cut through it completely until the brink of noon. The river was quiet; insects, trout, and people alike. Church was officially in session.
The Lord came down in a cloud of fog and spoke to us, and he said, “Thou shall fish black woolly buggers… strip them, swing them, whatever tickles your fancy, but they must be black.” And black they were for good reason! Hellgrammites, leeches, and chubby stonefly nymphs–all could be mimicked by the extraordinarily versatile, black woolly bugger. And so I swung, and stripped, and raided many a log jam with my fly. I fished hard, stayed focused all morning straight in to the afternoon, and after four hours of paying my dues–I hooked into, and landed a beautiful trout. Staring into the distant tree line, I spotted a single hawk circling above the gorge upstream–a pair of Great Blue Herons took off from the river’s edge beside me. I bowed my head and smiled, “The Lord is good, and for that I am grateful.”