Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rock Snot.

Gazing into my rear view mirror of the truck, all I could see was my fishless week from hell. Wading through muck, patiently throwing streamers into the unknown for fish that may or may not be there at all, is not a game I like to play. The metropolitan corridor of I95 serves as a breath of fresh air as I make my way south and then north to more promising waters. Wild trout waters. Making matters all the more refreshing, the windows are down, and seventy degree awesomeness whizzes by my face. An hour and a half later, I find myself in the state game lands of Maryland pulling into a parking lot in a different world compared to the city of Baltimore less than half an hour away. Who knew wild trout could exist so close to a city dumping filth into the lifeless waters of the surrounding Chesapeake Bay. The cool air of the morning wakes me up as I carefully inspect the license plate of the only other car in the parking lot. I do a double take. It is indeed an Alaska license plate. Wow. The guy from Alaska beat me to the stream. Go you, guy from Alaska.

I Believe the High Road Will Suit Me Better.

Ugly Sculpin.


Sorry Beavers, You Have a Hundred More Years on This One.

Little Guy.

Streamside, the water is roaring. I guess snow-melt and five inches of rain on top is a recipe for high flows. However, the water seems drinkable compared to what I was fishing the past week. I decide to go huge with the hope of enticing one of the rare behemoths out from the depths of the deep pocket water in the gorge. After an hour of chucking and ducking an articulated olive rubber leg sculpin, I give in. The water is too high and the sculpin doesn't have anytime to reach the impact zone. I end up putting on three tungsten bead nymphs of various sizes. A depth charger of a black stone, a flashback soft hackle, and then a small BWO nymph. I find myself standing on a 20 ton boulder five feet above a class four rapid high sticking into the slow stuff on the opposite banking. I pull three out before the kayakers come. Rather than continue to fish, I bring out the camera and snap some pics. After seeing his picture taken, one dude flips and almost drowns before pulling out. He must have been surprised considering the rapids he so deftly maneuvered through seconds before. The kayakers then took turns riding rapids in a deep pool that I know contains a monster brown.


Best Fish of the Day.

Another Nice One.

Elevation Change.

Big Browns Lurk Deep. Tough Going Here.

As I am taking pictures I carefully reflect on the situation at hand. Didymo has engulfed this tailwater. Sheets of rock snot cover everything. It is worse than I have ever seen it, despite the roaring water. Chunks of snot break away off boulders and downed trees and tumble into the flows downstream. It reminds me of fifteen years as a swimmer and all the snot rockets that would accumulate at the bottom of the deep end wrapping themselves around and consuming hair. This created a seemingly living ball of disgust that you prayed not to flip turn and push off into. I wonder if the trout feel the same way? Will the epic numbers of wild browns, rainbows, and brookies survive this catastrophe? Who is to blame for this? Is it the fly fishermen or the kayaker? We stand together there alone in a ravine enjoying our respective hobbies. I wonder what its like flipping over in a monster rapid and failing to flip back over. I am sure they are wondering what its like to pull a ten inch piece of beauty out from the unknown. Do they know what we brought to this stream? Are they aware of the consequences at hand? Does it effect them and their hobby? I let my wondering thoughts go and scramble my way upstream over logs and boulders.

He Flipped & I Was Seconds Away From Going In To Help.

Brave Old Man Having Fun.

Cool Sticker.

Sheets of Rock Snot. Yum.

Sadly, I Caught More Five Inch Loogies Than Trout.

The rest of the day, I fish a dry dropper combo. I keep everything in close, enough to high stick small pockets of slower water. The dozen or so fish that come to hand the rest of the day come out of areas mere feet away from shore. First from the tungsten soft hackle and later from a microscopic midge. I think presentation had a lot more to do with it and a willingness to fish overlooked areas. I make the long walk out and back to the truck and gorge on a melted fluffanutter and a bottle of water. Day two awaits.


"Large" Midge Scores.


Prettiest of the Day.

I Have Never Seen Red Spots in the Dorsal Fin Before.


Bigerrfish said...

Glad you got your dirty, clean!
what were the lugies biting on? looks like and s&m nymph... is it?

Wade Rivers said...

Gorgeous flippin' shots!

Mark said...

Thanks guys!

I had to look up the S&M nymph. Interesting pattern. Might have to tie a few of those.

Mine is just some BWO dubbing, wrapped in dun stretch tubing with some krystal flash for a wing. Tungsten head. I am sure it has a name somewhere but I honestly couldn't tell you.

Bigerrfish said...

If you fish the fly that is in the picture of lugie with confidence.... then you need s&m's in your box... but get this....You are going to find it tied in olive and brown, tie the brown ones with a black biot wingcase not brown, and throw black biot on the wingcase of a couple of olive ones as well, but most of the time use brown on the olive ones.. GOfISheM