As I walked along a West Virginia stream, this one known as a “Run” – I suppose meaning something smaller than a creek – I had a humorous thought occur to me….I was like a high school kid who showed up at Prom dressed for the Halloween Dance – or maybe the other way around.
On the West side of the Alleghenies, the morning began around 21 degrees with snow blowing sideways. My wife asked me “are you really going fishing?” I said “yes – the boys want to go, and I think I can get around this weather.”
So up over the Alleghenies we went…through the March blizzard conditions which had taken hold to the top of the mountains, and back down the East side to where the grass was green, the wisteria was in bloom, and the temperature was a balmy 38.
A tiny little town, just barely inside the West Virginia border, was within 30 minutes of four stocked trout streams I had never fished. It was worth a try.
But today was a day I would get everything wrong….I fished a 7.5’ 2wt on a steam where I needed extra length to buck the wind and reach across seams. I used a. 8.5’ rod on a stream where a 6.5 footer would have sufficed. I wore knee-boots on the stream with 18”-36” deep runs and waders to the stream I could step across. I fished double-nymph droppers in the shallow stream and a dry-dropper in the deep one. Basically – I royally screwed up all day.
But, it didn’t matter. There were no fish in these streams. Not one of the three of us raised a fish. I could see the bottom of every hole: no fish.
As I walked past old tires, empty styrofoam worm containers and trout bait jars…in my wading boots, chest waders, fly rod, and size 22 nymphs….I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. These streams get stocked once a week in March – and are picked empty within an hour or two. What was I thinking?
I wasn’t. I clearly forgot where I was. Ever the Optimist, always the fool.
As we drove back over the Alleghenies…through the wind and through the snow, I could not help but to think, it doesn’t have to be this way.