Beautiful morning; the landscape is still dominated by the deep greens of late summer but is beginning to give way to the colors of early autumn. The corn and beans are now a patchwork of amber and brown set against the still very green pastures and hay fields, and the first fall leaves litter the road ways swirling as the cars go by.
Farmers have begun to pick a few fields and as I drove down off the ridge to the river flocks of birds dove in and out of a fresh picked corn field. They marched along in small black clumps a couple craning their necks at each other arguing I suppose over a bit of found grain. It was 8:45 and the truck’s thermometer read 56 degrees, was partly cloudy, little to no breeze.
Meeting for what I believe is the seventh “One Fly” on the Gunpowder contest was Ken Bowyer, Russ levin, Bob ODonnell, Jed Feffer and me. It was so pleasant a morning just to be out we lingered around the parking lot chatting for a full 30 minutes before finally declaring our designated flies and getting underway. Ken chose a bead head Brassie #16 in red, Russ a grey Midge size #24, Bob, titanium head Peasant tail Prince Nymph, Jed a #16 Caddis & me a #14 Cranefly.
Bob headed for the Bunker Hill area, Jed and Russ stayed up and down stream of Masemore, while Ken and I drove up to Falls Road. Ken dropped me off at the canyon section making a plan to fish toward each other, he working his way up river from the lower parking lot. The Gunpowder is 54 degrees and flowing at 31 cfs, only about half of my favorite flows of between 55 to 70, but still enough water to provide for good fishing.
Last year the fish wouldn’t leave my Cranefly alone. This year I only had one fish briefly tug it under, and two others slap at it and that was it. I saw few fish rising up in the canyon, and those that did were taking Tricos I believe since I could see the wings of a small swarm twinkling in the sunlight just behind and above me.
When I met Ken he told me he lost his Brassie early to a tree, and hadn’t landed any fish either, but later on the way back down we had some fish rising in some flat water where ken landed one fish and hooked a couple more on his replacement fly, a daddy long Legs I think he said.
Back at the Truck Jed reported two browns for a total of 19 inches on his Caddis, ending the possibility of a “One Fly” skunk. He said he got pretty close to a 4 point buck before the deer finally saw him, and then flushed a large copperhead about two feet long. He said the snake wasn’t in any real hurry to get out of there, just sort of hung around watching him. Then two turkey vultures showed up. I said maybe the snake was just sizing him up, going to be long cold winter and always good to start one with a full belly. Seems a little suspicious though with those vultures coming in just then, maybe a wildlife co-op is developing out there?
Russ had to leave early and didn’t post any trout on the tally board so that just left Bob. Bob straggled in about 15 minutes later saying he found a pod of trout in a deep hole that didn’t show a lot of ambition, but after many drifts and a tiring arm & shoulder he did manage to coax two into taking and tallied up 23 inches, making Bob ODonnell the new 2012-2013 champion.
So let it be known to all of Trout Unlimited and anglers the world over, that Bob ODonnell in fair competition has won full right to brag for a full year. Congratulations Bob!