Friday, December 5, 2014


When it comes to winter freestone trout fishing, I typically grant myself the extra few hours to sleep in and hit the water sometime around noon to fish the part of the day when the sun is highest in the sky.  Specifically during a particularly cold period, this takes advantage of maximum water temperatures which, in theory, provides more active fish.

An average brook trout from a Blue Ridge Mountain stream.
Photo by Matt Reilly.
    However, my general attitude towards fishing is to do it as often as possible, whenever possible, and with a lunch appointment set for 12:30, I didn't even have to think about what I was going to do with my morning.  I was on the road pointed towards the Blue Ridge before sunrise.

    Sunrise was more of a number on the solunar table than a solar event.  Heavy cloud cover held the world in visible gray well into the morning hours.

    I parked the car shortly after 8:00 AM, rigged up my 7'6" 3-wt., and hit the trail.

    I began fishing after a two-mile hike into the Shenandoah National Park.  Heavy flows and cold winter water temperatures in the Park stream called for a heavy fly--something that wouldn't be swept by the current too quickly for the lethargic brookies, and that would reach the desired depth in some of the deeper holes.  A black CK Nymph, a creation of Cville local, Chuck Kraft, self-tied to have a larger profile and heavier weight fit the bill.

    Over the course of the next two hours, about 25 averagely-sized brook trout fell victim to the black "death ray," adjusted with split shot when needed.

    A quick glance at my watch initiated the longest cross-country wader-dash I have endured to this day, but I made it back to the car with almost enough time to make it to lunch on time!

    Reflecting, there is never a wrong or bad time to go fishing--you may be surprised by your experiences!

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