This is Part 1 of an epic day of guided fly fishing that my brother and I enjoyed during the first full weekend of Autumn. We were celebrating both of our birthdays (just 20 days apart) on two of the most scenic creeks in the Shenandoah Valley. The first was entirely private water, crystal clear, incredibly handsome with gentle bends, steep banks and absolutely stacked with rainbow trout. The other was off-colored from a little rain, mysterious with undulating weeds and surrounded by pasture, a true spring creek that promised big browns for the very skillful. I’m not going to give up the name of the first creek where we did our morning’s fishing. Sorry but you know how it is. Lets just call it “Farm Creek.”
Mossy Creek Fly Fishing already provides you with detailed and useful information on their website, but on the water I was reminded that nothing beats one-on-one time and instruction. Our guide, Jess, was knowledgeable, patient and willing to let us fish our way when it was right, and providing advice when our way was wrong.
Starting before dawn, we were able to get to “Farm Creek” from DC in just under X hours. Within a few minutes of meeting Jess we were set up and casting streamers into pools about fifty yards from each other. After just four or five casts my brother hooked up with his biggest rainbow ever, and it wouldn’t be his largest of the day. On my third cast I had my largest rainbow to date as well, and what would be the biggest of my day. I glanced at upstream at my brother who was hooked up again…and then I looked up into the bluebird morning sky and whispered a prayer of thanks. If this was the only fish we caught all day, I would be a happy man.
Fortunately, we had a banner morning of fishing, slowly working our way upstream casting into pools and riffles. With spring creek like conditions, we had to do some crouching to fish the shallower glides, but it gave us some wonderful moments to observe fish behavior. The large rainbows would jockey for position in the holding lies, chasing out the smaller trout.
Jess remarked that he was worried that the cold front that passed through the night before would shut the fish down–it usually did. But in this case, it had really turned them on. Even as the sun climbed higher, the ‘bows remained active, feisty, darting in and out of the shadows. By the time we stopped for lunch, my hand was sore and my eyes were glazed over. I kept telling myself not to take a single minute for granted. And isn’t that what celebrating a birthday is all about, a time to live in the moment and give thanks for all that has come before and all that will come next?