Trout Are Fish Too
Fishing on the South Branch has been minimal this year due to sustained high water and the
left over effects of the 2002 fish kill.  That being said, I thought I would get a little more
involved with fishing for trout. The experience has been rewarding and has taken me to more
distant waters. Now don't get me wrong, I have fished for trout throughout my life, but the
smallmouth in my home water is my forte.  The following article will document my attempt at
becoming a more knowledgable fisher of trout.
My first outing was to another tributary of the mighty Potomac...The North Branch. What a
pleasant experience it was. Beauty is one of my prerequisite for fishing and the North Branch
definately has that. My quarry was Rainbows..and I was not disappointed.
The North Branch is an extremely attractive stream that makes up the border between West
Virginia and Maryland. It is located primarily in Mineral and Grant Counties WV and flows
into Jennings Randolph Lake just below the small community of Kitzmiller. I fished the
stream just above the lake. It runs fast and cold. One has to pick their spots carefully in that
a majority of the stream is deep with hugh torrents passing through narrow canyons and
hugh boulders. I chose the more gentle stretches to wade. I selected my 6 wt, with 3x tipit
due to the necessity of making fairly long cast. My first stop was a long run below a rather
significant riffle. My fly of choice was the Smallmouth Seeker in that this river is rather void
of insect life. Acid mine drainage did its work a long time ago. The stream is now being limed
and I would say recovering very well. I did see some very small blue winged olives coming off
the surface, but I figured that I would give them a meal. The
Seeker is tied with Black Bear fur
which I feel makes the difference.
It also has an orange collar
behind the bead that acts as an
attractor. Whatever the reason,
the Smallmouth Seeker also
works very well in attracting
trout. I fished straight across
stream and allowed the fly to sink
while continually throwing
upstream mends. The fly
continued through the swing until
directly downstream from my
position at which time I recast the
fly. I met with good luck by
landing several nice rainbows
from similiar locations along the
river and using similiar
techniques.
I did try a dry fly or two and caught one fish on a CDC and Elk Hair Caddis originated by
Hans Weilemann from the Netherlands. Hans has been a great help to me in my tying  and
he fishes the CDC/Elk almost exclusively across a lot of the northern hemisphere. You can
visit Hans' excellent fly tying site at  
www.danica.com/flytier
While fishing the North Branch I was careful to pause, sit, shed  my pack and "take in" the
magnifiicent beauty of the area that I was fishing. Alone- without another person on the
stream was fulfilling. How lucky we are to have and enjoy this resource called fishing. With it
comes many rewards of which fish are only one. More so is the solitude which we can inhale
from such a place.
My second trip was to the state just north of me- Pennsylvania. It was my fist time to fish the famous
streams close to State College. These streams, Penns Creek and Spring Creek, are much different  
than the streams that I fish. They are derived from hugh springs which boil from the limestone
derived landscape. They were cold, clear and full of insect life.  I was part of a group that invaded
these streams. Flyfishermen and women from as far away as British Columbia attended. It was an
honor for me to fish with these people. My association with these people confirmed that flyfishermen
are true sportsmen and in touch with their surroundings. The water was high on the streams that we
fished;
however everyone caught
fish. My first encounter was
with a brown trout. While
preparing to fish this run, I
pondered what fly I should
choose. I decided to go with
what worked at home. I
landed two fat browns on the
Smallmouth Seeker. I had to
laugh at myself. Later that
day I caught two more browns
. One on a CDC/Elk and the
other on a Bead Head Hares
Ear. The trout were wild trout
(born in this stream) and they
were very strong. The only
other place that I have caught
wild browns was in the Elk
River in  West Virginia. We
had hoped to catch the hatch
of the Green Drakes, but due
to the late spring and continued high water through the spring, the Green Drakes didn't show. There
were good hatches of Sulphurs and Sulphur Spinners late in the evenings, but I didn't have any luck
with them. I had never witnessed a spinner fall like the one on Spring Creek. Hatches on the
streams that I frequent are fairly sparse. The hatches and returning spinners on limestone streams
are tremendous.  Just look at this beautiful Brown Trout-fat and healthy. There is something to be
said for spring creeks.  I would
encourage you to head to a
spring creek and give it a
try. Wild fish do seem more
beautiful and rewarding. I
hope you have enjoyed
reading about my two most
recent trout trips. There
is, I hope, a common thread
in my accounts That being the
beauty of a stream along with
the treasures that it produces. Even though I am primarily a smallmouth fisherman, I do realize that
Trout Are Fish Too.
Photographs by: Carl D. DeFazio
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