An evening on Cheat

I never dreamed I would make it fishing on a Sunday evening after fishing all day on Saturday, but like the weather, sometimes and rarely things come together. So my son Sam and I made the 45 minute drive up Cheat Mountain to see what we could do. It had been a hot May afternoon, so maybe there would be a hatch.

The drive up Cheat Mountain can be via blacktop and then gravel, which is the long way around, or it can be all gravel, which takes about 40 minutes. We took the all-gravel route and were on the river by 6:45, which wasn’t too bad since we decided to go at 5:30. Nothing typically happens that fast at our house.

The first 90 minutes was completely uneventful, except for finding some gigantic mating frogs of some species I’ve never seen before, and busting my ass when both feet went straight out from under me. I went from standing to on my butt in 5” of water so fast I didn’t know I had fallen until, all of a sudden, there was water in my waders and I was eye level with the frogs locked in coitus. I’ve been threatening new wading shoes for two years – that fall convinced me… they are now on order.

Just before dark set in the canyon, the hatch emerged. At this point there was insufficient light to identify any details, but I was certain it was a mayfly, size 12ish, and dark – maybe a March Brown? Who knows. I just opened my box and got close – a Quill Gordon dry in size 12 looked the part. About 50 drifts later I landed a stocked rainbow; nothing huge, but fun on the TFO 2-weight.

Downstream of me I had been watching Samuel make casts so long that I was wondering how his reel held so much. He had to nearly be into the backing as he cast across two different seams to the Stillwater near the opposite bank. Sure enough, he had spotted a rising rainbow over there and he was dead set on catching him. He had that trout drug halfway back across the river by the time I noticed what was going on. It was an epic flyfishing battle as the trout fought the rod and Sam fought the 100’ of fly line that was encircling him as he stood in calm water. The bright yellow fly line, laying in 10 inch circles, appeared to stand five inches above the surface of the water, making me think for a split second that he wasn’t fishing but rather had been using a weed eater in the river and the head of it exploded sending tangled weed eater cord everywhere. He finally hauled the trout into arms length and extended his net, successfully scooping up the trout, 20 feet of fly line, and the leader. It took him a full ten seconds to find the trout in the bottom of the net. After a picture and a release, he had to cut everything apart to untangle the mess, thereby putting a bookend on an unexpected and enjoyable evening on the Cheat.

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