For anyone who may be keeping score this was a make up outing to Big Hunting creek for the one that froze out in February. Actually, earlier in the week it was still scheduled as a make up outing from last weekend’s postponed Shad trip to Deer Creek, when cold weather ran the Shad back into the river but at mid week I was still waiting for word that the Shad had come back, lost faith, and changed the outing destination to BHC. Reports are now in that the Shad are back. Hmmm…..
At half past 9, Will Amland, a couple of locals, and I puttered around the parking lot next to the creek talking about recent stockings, what’s been hatching and generally just taking our time rigging up, letting the first warm spring morning sink in after such a crappy cold spring thus far.
Finally getting organized enough to gear up, I tied on a #18 pheasant tail flashback nymph and made the short walk to the creek. The water may have been a little chilly; I’m not sure since I’m presently between thermometers, but otherwise it was perfect. Good flows and crystal clear, and illuminating that familiar emerald green cast off by algae hugging the larger rocks lining the creek’s caramel colored bottom.
The locals in the parking lot said that brook trout had been stocked about two weeks prior and the first run produced three in the 10 inch range. The 1st one I popped off at the end of a hard run that was putting a pretty bend in my little 3 weight Over the years I’ve taken note that these little stockers can really fight and on light tackle are very sporting. I managed to land the 2nd but then ldr’d the 3rd.
Heading down into the canyon I came across Will coming up on the other side of the creek and yelled across to him while passing about the success with the pheasant tails. By 11:30 little clouds of midges hung over the water here and there while brown stones crawled around on me and dive bombed back into the creek. At around noon a small gray-looking mayfly in about #18, maybe a Blue Quill, began to emerge. I even saw a fish rise two or three times in that same general area but it wouldn’t take anything I showed on top. I gave up on dries and tied on a #10 green wooly bugger and quickly hooked a brookie.
This tactic worked the rest of the day. On one of the larger holes I found a pod of very eager brookies, most likely starving and confused, all piled in a short run. Simple tactics; just put enough weight on to sink the bugger, strip it through them or let it lay there and undulate amongst them, hold on, and wham! In the next half hour 8 more stockers bent my rod before I began to feel immoral about the whole thing and ambled off to find Will.
I never did find Will, but I found find just about everybody else in Frederick County. There were people walking dogs, kids splashing in the creek or some, mostly young boys, trying to fill it up by throwing rocks into the water. It was 3:30 by then and I figured I had gotten the best of it anyway so I headed for the truck.
Will emailed me later sending me a picture of a beautiful little 9 inch brown that fell to an emerger, the only wild trout of the day. He said he also found some fish rising in a larger pool and began working them with a BWO. After several minutes of refusals, or fish just nipping at it, he went down a size, and viola, a solid hook up. Bringing the fish to hand and expecting a brookie he instead netted one of the less expected game fish in Big Hunting Creek, a bluegill… After releasing the fish he turned to leave and spooked three trout that were holding almost at his feet. Will thinks it was all just an elaborate joke played on him by the brookies and they were laughing their fins off as they raced back to cover. Well, he might have just been a bluegill but you caught him with panache, on a fly, fished dry, and upstream.
Will said he quit fishing a little early to play with his new seine and take a few pictures of the bugs he captured, and then it was off for home in time to take his son to the Orioles game. Sounds like a perfect day to me!
It was really a nice day to be out. On the drive back home there were Holsteins grazing their pastures blotched with patches of yellow flowers, and the Cotoctain ridge line had that lime green fuzzy look it gets just prior to leafing out. The bugs are out, Blue Quills, Midges, and even a few Dark Hendricksons were spotted, or at least I think that’s what they were, a mahogany mayfly in #14 or maybe larger performing an undulating dance a several feet above the water. This thing we’ve been waiting for all year is just beginning!