Big Spring January 2014 Outing Report


Pulling into the parking area of what's known as "the ditch" at Big Spring it was 10:36 am and the air temp was 24 degrees. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground and a 15 mile an hour wind that pushed the rising steam in small puffs across the creek's warmer surface. The forecast had been for cloudy skies and temps rising into the low 30's, but the revised forecast that morning had clearing skies with a high of only 25; so in other words just a beautiful winter morning.

Joe Robinson, Yang Chang, Josh Collette, & Ken Bowyer were already in the parking lot, waders on and talking strategy. Me, Lou Reichel & Bob O'Donnell piled out of the truck and struggled to pull waders on over layers of winter clothes. I could hear Bob on the other side of the truck harrumphing about tying knots with cold fingers that didn't cinch down properly, while I fought to tie tippet onto a stiff coil of leader while the cold wind crawled down my neck.

About the time we got everything together a fish boiled the surface right in front of us and warmed me up considerable and most likely everyone else. Just who struck first I don't know, Joe caught a brookie from the ditch while I got a couple small rainbows out of the run just below. Either way everyone's spirits were bolstered with fish in the net. Joe got his on a Walt's Worm; mine on a Cress Bug the other on a Walt's Worm.

Bob and Joe

Around 12 pm Lou and I decided to head on down to the next bridge parking lot where there was more room to cook lunch. It was a good move because we found lots of fish stationed out in the runs. In the next hour I got a couple more bows in about that same 8-10 inch range, while Lou hooked a big bow upstream on a red Midge Pupae Emerger, not sure of the fly size. I never saw a guy so happy to lose a big fish; he said just getting good enough to fool a fish that size was enough for him. Lou said he had him on for awhile but the fish wrapped the leader around the rock he had been holding in front of and busted off. As I said earlier, there were lots of fish out, and several large ones, but other than Lou's all the big'uns proved to be shyer than we were sly. The smaller fish would sometimes give chase and once in awhile take, while the larger fish would either ignore the fly or spook and slide away as the fly came close. Throughout the day I saw a healthy population of fish ranging in sizes from two to three inches close to the weed beds all the way up to a couple that approached steelhead size. All afternoon fish in small pods moved up and down stream grubbing midges by side shimmying on the stream bottom to knock the Pupae loose.

Around 2 pm we had some lunch; hot bean soup, boiled brats, chips & soda which did a lot to warm things up. Then back on the water. A few fish had began to rise and I did get one on a #22 CDC Parachute Midge Pupae, a 10 incher hanging just back from the big Bow I was casting too. This 17-19 inch fish spent most of the afternoon hanging just in front of a rock below the bridge and would rise once in awhile to something neither I nor Bob could see. Throughout the afternoon I think everybody in the group had a go without moving him except maybe to spook him out of his lie for a little while.

By three O'clock it was getting noticeably colder but we didn't want to quit. The wind had picked up a little and my fly line was freezing in the guides just about every cast, and I would have to dip the tip top in the water to free up the line. By 4 pm the temperature had dropped down to 22 degrees and the wind had picked up a little, we'd had enough. Pretty nice day overall, maybe a little chilly but the fish were there and taking just often enough to keep things interesting.

The next outing is to Big Hunting Creek, not sure of the date just yet, waiting to see what the weather brings. February is sometimes the coldest outing of the year and the creek has in some past years filled with snow and frozen up for short periods. Other years it's been close to 70 degrees with herds of marauding midges and stoneflies. Just have to wait a little; I'll post the date at least a week or two ahead.

Dennis Covert