The colors where a white tail with a worm brown body (medium dun hackle), a white tail with a hot pink body (medium dun hackle), a red tail/body with a blue dun hackle, and a neon green with black stripped tail with a neon green body (black hackle.) All on size 14 nymph hooks. The worm brown and the pink really ticked my interest, so I grabbed those two, as well as a few other flies and headed out.
Winter fishing in PA is not easy, nor is it comfortable. And it's not even winter here! I decided first to head to the pool where I grabbed this years best rainbow trout (13") and see how my luck was. I then planned to move down to the below the bridge where in the spring I had grabbed a few nice size 'gills.
I pulled off the road and the first thing I noticed was the wall of ice that I had parked next too. (Sorry about the pic quality, I couldn't find my camera and had to use my phone. )
A quick hike and I was at the pool. The falls looked to be in the same condition as the cliff face was.
I started to set up my Sila Flex, which still hasn't had a fish landed on it, when I noticed on of the guides was a little bent. I have been keeping this in the rod case for my 2wt, so I figured that it might have wiggled a little and bent. I touched it to gently bend it back, and the guide all but fell off into my head. Just friggin great.....
Not about to let a little broken guide stop me, I stick the posts of the guide back under the threads and proceed to string the rod. I notice that the leader feels a little hard, but don't pay it any mind. I've only used this rod and reel once before, and I think that this leader was a free-be that came with the line, so I'm not too concerned.
I grab the pink bugger and attach it to the leader with an improved cinch knot. I tighten it and the knot just crumbles. WTF.... I reknot it and tighten; same result. I yank off the whole leader and stuff it into my trash pocket on my vest. This is where I keep all the pits and pieces of leader and tippet to be thrown away later. Pack it in, pack it out.
I put on a 4x that I know to be of decent quality and hit the water.
30 minutes or so later, I am so far hitless and tangled in a bush. I work the line out of the bush and it swings past me. It is then that I notice that the line is still holding the BB shot, but then ends. I look in the bush. No pink. I look on the ground. No pink. I look in the water. No pink. I look back at the groung..... well you get the idea. The fly had just vanished.
Figuring that it is going to be one of those days, I grab the worm colored bugger. I tie it on and the line crumbles again.
AAAARRRRRRGGHHHHH......... There. I'm better. I take off a nice health dose of tippet from the leader and tie again. The knot holds.
I try a few more casts but the guides froze up (which has been happening the whole time to one degree or another) so badly that I'm now casting a giant loop from the middle of the rod, rather than the line from the end of it. I clear the guides and figure that it is time to move to my other spot, down below the bridge.
I walk down to below the bridge and start making my casts. I notice a lot more drag from the last time that I was here, and it's going upstream. Very unusual for this place..... Long story short, I was there about 20 minutes with nary a trace of fish.
I make a quick decision to leave this land of the crazy drag and head over to the park, where there are a few holes of stockers. I haven't been fishing since my steelhead trip in October, and almost forget what a fish on a line feels like. I've had plenty of success here in the summer, so I thought to try it when the weather is colder.
I get back to the van and toss in my rod and my neck, which was strapped to my back. A quick flash catches my eye and I pick the net back up. And there, caught on the rim, is my pink bugger.
Shaking my head at the whole last hour or so, I hope it and head out.
I get to the park and make a be line to the first hole. Sunset is about 20-30 minutes away, and then the park closes. I get to the hole and, just barely noticeable, are some quality size trout swimming. These trout see ridiculous amounts of fishing pressure during the summer, so their not stupid. A few more moments inspection and it shows that all the stupid (i.e. little) one's are gone. It's just mamma's and papa's now.
I still have my brown bugger one and make a cast. A 6-10" (which is a very nice size for this stream) size trout follows it for the whole retrieve, but at the last second swims off. A dozen more casts and it seems that he told his friends about me.
I decide to give up on my buggers for now, and tie on a size 14 black stonefly. I used honest to goodness goose biots on this one, so it's looking pretty sharp. A dozen more casts, and I'm back to casting my mid-rod loop again.
I clean out the guides,a nd with about 10 minutes to spare, high tail it to the other hole in the park.
I look in and see some smaller trout flashing their bellies and nosing between the rocks. I would guess that they were feeding on midges, but I'm not about to hop in the water to find out so I'm going to have to leave that to speculation.
I didn't feel like taking the time to switch flies, so I drop in my stonefly. Maybe and exercise in futility, but it felt good just to wet a line again.
One cast....two.... five......cast after cast and no action. Feeling the inevitable shut out, I decide on a "few more" and then back it in. It was already so dark that I couldn't see the fly on the line, just a faint glimmer off of the shot. At the second or third cast, I felt the familiar weight on the end. I pull back to set the hook, but at the same time I feel a quick head shake. And just like that it was gone.
Given that I'm probably already in the park after hours, I decide to end the day on a "high note" and go home and thaw out the rod.
I had just finished my Winter Tying List this morning.... looks like I need to add some midge patterns to it.