Winter Weather Advisory Trout Part 2

wv brown troutI haven’t gotten to do too much lately because of the weather.  All of our streams in SW Pennsylvania are frozen in and the snow is way too deep to try and pheasant hunt.  Back in my home state of West Virginia, however, there is some really good fishing to be had.  

After 3.5 years of begging, I finally got my boss to head south with me to fish a stream full of wild fish in one of the most rugged parts of the coal fields.  We only had about a day and a half to devote to fishing.  This may seem like a lot, but you could literally fish this stretch for a week and not thoroughly cover it all.  I decided to hit the high spots to save time and increase our catch per effort.

blue winged olive

The first morning started slow.  Air temperatures hovered in the high twenties and by noon, I was starting to get worried.  We’d only brought half a dozen fish to hand.  Shortly after, something I’ve never seen before, happened.  A blanket hatch (for February in West Virginia) of size 16 blue winged olives came off and fish started rising.  I’ve fished this place a lot of years and rarely see fish rise even when conditions are prime.  My boss, Mike, tied on a dry and proceeded to pick fish off in the soft water close to the banks.  It was really quite impressive to watch.  A switch to a black Copper John nymph started producing fish subsurface.  Everything was right in the world.

blue winged olive on snowIt was kind of crazy how many olives boiled off there for about an hour period.  Here’s a photo of a bunch of them hanging out on the snow.  We wrapped up on a popular stretch of creek and by the point, the bugs were done.  Eggs and the rubberleg nymph produced about 20 fish in a little under an hour out of one run within sight of the truck.  Good way to end the day

trout fishing

With colder temperatures on our final day, there were no bugs flying.  The rubberleg and egg patterns smashed fish.  We fished a long, popular stretch of creek and there were a lot of willing fish.  Mike and I both lost fish in the 20+” range but still caught a lot of solid fish.  They’re super healthy and they pull really well.

IMG_3037_zpsu6s9vzzwOne thing that was confirmed on this trip is that European style nymph fishing is downright unfair in the right conditions.  The drift you get with a Euro rig is so pure fish have no choice but to eat it.  It also gets the flies to the bottom really fast and provides opportunities to properly fish a section of water that would otherwise be inaccessible.  You will also pick up fish in places you previously haven’t.  Done correctly in the right situation, Euro nymphing has no equal.

West Virginia rainbow

west virginia rainbow trout

Overall, it was a very good trip and there were a lot of firsts.  I really wish we could have landed at least one of the big fish.  There are definitely big fish there but they don’t come as easily as they once did.  That kind of stings a little, but it is just another reason to come back.