I had a family wedding to attend in the Pittsburgh area this past weekend so I decided to take an extra day off and do a little fishing while I was back in the SW. Things had dramatically changed in the region since my last visit 6 weeks ago. Back then it was tough to even find a place to fish let alone have any real luck due to high water. The rains have left the area however and waters have dropped, in most cases to levels that I wouldn’t even bother lacing up my boots to fish. As with every other area of the state though, I have my small stable of waters that only perform under falling or low water levels and the SW region is no different. After reviewing my charts Wed night I could see that one of my favorite places over there was just hitting the prime time levels that I love so I was really excited and hit the road for the 4.5 hour journey homeward.
The next morning came and I just couldn’t wait. It had been 2 years since water levels were conducive to fishing this location. It’s a unique fishing experience as the terrain is as rugged as any place in the state. The stream that flows around the Maryland and WV border can be as rough as anything you will ever find in this great state. Outside of the Lehigh River Gorge and the Yough there are few places that can rival the western side of the Mason Dixon line for rough water country.
I did have one major and one minor issue on my mind for the day. #1…it was HOT. 75 when I left my in-laws house are 4:30am and forecasted to 90 at noon. The stream I was headed to has some thermal issues so I knew that could come into play. #2…storms were in the forecast so I was praying that nothing heavy would come through and blow me out. That’s been my luck in the SW this season.
When I arrived at the stream everything looked awesome as expected.
The air temps had dropped to 66 and I was eager to hit the stream. I hustled into my waders and double stepped it to the water’s edge. First thing I did was drop my thermometer into the creek. After 30 seconds I pulled up a frosty 67 degrees (sarcasm). That’s what I was afraid of. That’s cool enough for me to fish (for now) so I cracked the bail and started the party! 2 cranks in….BOOM…..wild brown in hand. The DREADED first cast trout had happened haha!!!
2 casts later I hooked into this pretty little wild rainbow and I felt the curse was already lifted for the day.
In the first hour the fishing was awesome! I caught a ton of trout including wild browns and rainbows, stocked browns, rainbows, and brooks, and even this stocked Tiger Trout.
I approached a decent sized tributary and took a water temp of 65 degrees right below it. As I passed I took another and it shot up to 69 degrees. I cringed and just kept fishing knowing that the day was getting warmer and warmer. The fish were still attacking the spinner aggressively though and I was having a blast catching a variety of trout.
And enjoying the spectacular sites this stream has to offer.
Some of the rainbows in those pools were so rich in color.
And the browns were splendid too!
After a 15 minute sit under a large hemlock to wait out a passing storm it wasn’t long until the sun decided to make its first appearance of the morning.
Of course I knew that that was soon to be my swan-song as I took a water temp of 70 degrees 5 minutes later. Due to the well oxygenated extreme gradient of this stream I continued to fish for another hour before things started to peter off pretty good. I took another stream temp and got almost 73 degrees and that was all she wrote. I don’t mind pushing over 70 depending on the creek but 73 I’m drawing the line. Not to mention that at some point the trout will tell you they’re done anyhow. I would say that at about 72 they told me loud and clear. I snipped my spinner off the line and dropped it back into my little film canaster that I keep them in . Grabbed my BJB and Missed Again inspired pitch counter to see that I’d landed 139 during my time on the water. It was nice to fish without worrying about numbers dancing around in my head for a change.
There are no roads or even trails along this particular creek. The walk back was rough and heavily wooded.
I was in no real hurry though and the cool front had pushed through so there was a pleasant breeze. Instead of rushing back to the truck and heading for the in-laws I spied a nice rock and just took a 30 minute sit, enjoyed granula bar, and sipped on a gator-aide for a while. It was quiet, away from any sounds of the outside world, and comfortable. I half-minded wanted to take a nap. While I sat there I admired my rod and reel combo and silently acknowledged the fact that this particular rod was quickly approaching a milestone of sorts. It’s been a loooong time since a rod had made it through 2 full fishing seasons in my hand and this one is moving torwards that.
Still a lot of fishing to go but even if I break it tomorrow it will go down as one of the better rods I’ve ever built for trouting. I get quite attached to each one of them and hate to see them go when the time comes. Every now and then I talk to them as if they’re one of my buddies haha. After a while I said ‘well, let’s go for a walk!’ and off I went to finish the hike back to the truck. A hot and sweaty finish it was!
I felt good about the day. I little redemption for the difficulties encountered weeks earlier. Things don’t look to be getting any easier from a water level standpoint although I am hearing decent things about some rained for Friday. Have to wait and see on that one.