This past Sunday N and I were able to go down to Rose River Farm to photograph the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing 2-Fly Tournament. Below are a few sample images from the day. Check back next week to see the full post.
Nick and I volunteered to photograph the Casting 4 Recovery 2Fly4Hope event this past Sunday at Rose River Farm down in Syria, VA. The 2Fly4Hope Challenge had 12 teams of 2 anglers each. It was a 2-fly tournament, meaning each angler only got 2 flies for the entire day. One of the flies had to incorporate the color pink (for breast cancer awareness). The weather was phenomenal. The turn out and sponsorship was great. The fishing action was steady. Not surprisingly, the people we met were even better than the fishing. Mollie, Kiki, Rose River Farm and the team really put on a fantastic event. We felt fortunate to be a part of such a meaningful cause. To see all the photos from this event or to purchase prints, visit this link.
Despite its proximity to the major metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington DC, the Gunpowder River somehow finds a way to maintain a rugged quality. That ruggedness was recently amplified by a series of intense rainstorms and a bonafide tropical storm that worked its way up the eastern seaboard early this autumn. The aftermath can be seen in the first photograph shown below, with a displaced tire aptly named, “Wild Country”. Trees were uprooted all over the place. Logjams and stream structure were completely rearranged.
There have been several weeks of rain in addition to the primary storms that hit in early September. As a result, the Gunpowder is still running high, right around 220 cfs when I fished it this past Saturday. I arrived early and fished the lower section near Monkton. In the first 15 min of fishing, I had caught two and missed one. The first fish of the day, a plump 12-13″ brown is shown in the photo below. Unfortunately, the rest of the day went much slower, with fish difficult to come by. I switched flies several times, rotating between double nymph rigs and streamers. Aside from a couple of swipes, all of the action came on nymphs. The fish that did bite seem to hit hard. It led me to believe the fish were active but the higher flows slowed down the action… then again who really knows? At least I avoided the myriad spiders that were all. over. the place. The largest, freakiest looking one is captured in the third picture below. Yikes.
West Virginia’s state slogan is “wild and wonderful”. We decided to test that motto over Labor Day weekend with some backpacking and fishing along Seneca Creek with another couple. The water levels were extremely low, putting a damper on any serious fishing. Everything else was phenomenal. We hiked ~3.5 miles to the most gloriously comfortable camp site that I’ve ever experienced. Flat rocks had been positioned to create 5 adirondack-like chairs around a fire pit, with another two large flat rocks propped up for a dining table and cooking counter. Oh yeah, did I mention the site was right along the river? Great spot. The surrounding terrain transported us far from the urban jungle of DC with lush green undergrowth and tall canopy overhead. As I mentioned before, the water was low. So low that we could see all of the fish that we were not catching and then wipe the drool from our mouths. It may have been the adrenaline affecting my judgment, but I believe we saw several pools with 13-15 inch rainbows. I’d definitely like to go back in the spring or early summer with better water conditions. Even with the low water, there were a couple of deep, deep pools that held willing trout and made for perfect swimming holes. So, we managed a few small fish, enjoyed some hiking and made some memories experiencing the outdoors with good friends.
We had a family reunion back in the O-H this past weekend. Having not seen some folks in about ten years, it was really a special time. Turns out the host family has a small pond on their property. My pops and I conducted some afternoon casting lessons, introducing the extended family to the finer side of fishing. Once evening rolled around, the pond was all ours. We took a couple of laps throwing first poppers, then streamers (kreelex, bugger). I landed my first ‘cat on a fly rod, a decent 3 pounder, thanks to ye ole reliable wooly bugger. The catfish was upset to be a part of my milestone, making a couple of bursts that had me double checking my drag. But what I remember the most vividly is catching myself holding my breath each time I landed a popper snug to the shoreline. To put this in perspective, the pond was less than a half acre, still muddy from recent rains and continual daylong swimming sessions by the troop of kids. The bass we were getting were about 8 inches, barely larger than your hand. And yet I found myself holding my breath, anticipating a splashy attack on each good cast. This is how it started 15+ years ago, throwing poppers with a stiff 7 wt for small largemouth, learning the sport next to my dad on suburban Ohio lakes and farm ponds. So what started as curiosity and sport is now, well… sickness? Obsession? Let’s just call it a passion… and keep praying for my wife.