Saturday, January 10, 2009

First Fish of 2009

My very first fishing trip of 2009 did not disappoint. I really missed fishing for the native wild brookies, so I headed up to my secret spot near the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was not sure what to expect because I have never caught a native brookie in the middle of winter. It was a very cold day with a layer of ice on the exposed rocks. I had to move very slowly to keep from falling.

I knew the fish would be feeding deep so I was nymph fishing all of the deeper pockets. I did not have much luck, except for one spot where I always catch fish. A large undercut bolder. I made several casts to the other side of the bolder while standing behind it. Finally the line tightened and I quickly raised the rod tip to set the hook. It was a 7" male brookie still in spawning colors. But from his thin body, it was obvious he was just trying to make it through the winter at this point.

I released the brookie and decided I would leave the little native "speckles" alone until spring. They are under enough pressure as it is. I decided to move to the catch and release section of the Davidson River.

click picture to enlarge

On the Davidson, I went to the same place where I caught the 16" brown the week before. It was late in the day so many fishermen had already fished this hole. Fortunately a cold winter rain shower chased most of the other anglers away and I had the spot all to myself.

I fished for about an hour with no luck. I could see fish but they were very skittish. Finally I changed to a very fine 7X tippet and tied on a natural color San Juan worm. I allowed the nymph to drift as naturally as I could in the deepest section of the run. I only felt a slight tug that caused me to set the hook. It was a good sized fish. I had to play him very carefully to keep from breaking the fine tippet. Finally I was able to coax him to shore and get a net under him. It was a very plump rainbow measuring 16". I was hoping for something a little bigger to break my previous week's record, but I was happy.

click picture to enlarge


  1. You have a great deal of patience, my friend. Were you out there by yourself? Glad to see you are having success!

  2. You know, it does not seem like that long when I'm fishing. I'm always surprised by how fast the time passes.
    Yeah, I was fishing alone. I enjoy the solitude and quiet time. It's very cathartic.

  3. I like the way of description this time. The brook is skinny as it is a native fish in winter. The rainbow is fat with good nutrients in a warmer part of the river.

    Today, I am going to a pay fishing river in Tanzawa Mountain.

    Let's enjoy another memorable fishing stories in 2009!