Sunday, December 29, 2013

4:30 AM Comes Early, (Except When It Comes To fishing).

     4:30 a.m. does come early, especially after a good night of drinking and a 12:30 a.m. bed time. Boy did I feel rough.  I had a really hard time getting out of bed, but considering it was self-inflicted I felt obligated to wake up, so I pushed through it. I eked out of bed with a lot of help from my wife, (thanks again, Diane) and I loaded up the car.  After a pretty uneventful three and half hour drive and  a stop at the store to get some provisions, I arrived to a cold 18 degree Elk Springs. I hit the fly shop and picked up some tippet seeing as how I was out.  I went through a few spools of tippet this year, mostly 5x.  While in the fly shop I started to talk to a very nice woman, mostly because I thought she was working there and then just because she was nice to talk to. After about five minutes I figured out that she didn't actually work there.  She was looking at some waders, the same pair that I wear.  I told her that I had them and I've been more than pleased, seeing as how the first time I wore them I was bitten by a doberman and they held up.  I really think that if I did not have those layers of protection I would have been making a trip to the hospital for some stitches.  The best part is they never leaked.
     So after I squared up with the man I walked outside to have a look at the creek and to see if anyone was catching any fish, which is where I bumped into the same lady from the fly shop.  We began to talk for a bit again about fishing and the camera that she had bought for her husband.  She explained that her husband used to fly fish quite a bit, but had gotten out of it due to kids and a career. Now both of them were getting back into it, and they love it so much that they go as often as they can.  She asked where I was from, to which I replied Pennsylvania and to be more specific Waynesburg, seeing as how no one has heard of Fredericktown much less Clarksville.  She explained that her husband was originally from Waynesburg but now lives in Morgantown.  Then she asked me if I was staying at the resort, which I wasn't, but before I could get any more out she was offering me the extra room at their cabin. I really believe that she was sincere in her offer.  I was moved by this even though I turned down the offer. I already had a place to stay if I had wanted but was undecided at this point.  I can honestly say that everyone I have ever met on the stream with a fly rod in tow was a friend. It's almost like fraternity of sorts.  Now there are times that I get frustrated due to lack of etiquette, but that is a whole separate post.  
     Now onto the fishing. I scaled the creek in my car up and down twice before deciding on where I was going to set in, keeping in mind I wanted to stay close to the road to keep an eye out for my buddies John, Heath, Albert and Willie.  I tied on a rig that I usually start with on cold weather days, a Black Woolybugger and a fly that I came up with that my wife dubbed the Hritz.  It is really just a midge pupa tied with peacock herl, some flash, and a glass or metal bead on a size #18 or #20.  Surprisingly it works great in PA, especially this time of year.  I was there for about an hour with no sign of life before my friends showed up. Normally I would have taken the water temp by now, but I knew what it was already. COLD.  After some BS-ing while the others rigged up we hit the river in force.  Heath seemed to have the touch landing two nice rainbows on a Cream Suckerspawn, which is our go-to fly when there is nothing really happening.  Heath and myself then set out upstream hitting every patch of good looking water on the way. Heath picked up one more on the Cream and I lost one on a Split-Wing Nymph Size #20.  Due to some dry pipes, a little bit of hunger, and some frustration we turned back to the car.  I always seem to lose track of how much ground I have covered until the walk back.  I did take the water temp before heading back to the car and it was a cool 38 degrees.   We all conversed over a beer comparing how the day's events had unfolded for each of us and where the next move was going to be.  I knew it was up, but how far was the question.  I wanted to go to the iron bridge in the middle of the catch and release, and Heath wanted to go to the public access area to fish one of the side channels with the assumption that the water would be warmer since it is closer to the springs.  I was walking back to the creek with a mission this time: don't get skunked.  Heath picked up one more, but I was still coming up empty handed.  
     After some hole sharing I dug my heels in with some determination.  It was starting to get dark and I just kept working the hole changing my approach every few casts. Finally it all came together when I landed a nice 18 to 19 inch rainbow. I felt that the fish fought decently considering how cold the water was.  After landing and taking a photo I released the fish, checked my rig and restored my net.  I walked back up to the hole and on the first cast I had a fight on my hands.  This fish went crazy!  It was pissed, and not happy to have a hook in its mouth.  He flew from one end of the hole to the other, ran at me, and broke water before he was tired.  At this point it was dark so I turned on my headlamp and netted him. After another photo I released him.  I felt like I spooked the hole with my light so I headed for the car.  
     On the long drive home I thought about catching those two respectable fish back to back like this right at dark, and it reminded me of something Meatball (John) said earlier.  "If the fish ain't bitin' then the fish ain't bitin'. Might as well have a beer." Well tonight just goes to show that you can't catch a fish unless you are out there trying.  I always like to say, "Can't catch any fish if you're sitting on the couch."  I use this a lot when I'm trying to coerce someone into going for the day.  
      One last note because I feel there is some confusion about where you have to pay to fish when it come to the Elk Springs Resort.  The river is open through the resort and in front of the lodge and fly shop. The only places that you have to pay is where the river is spring fed and at the hatchery.  I also posted the rules of the Catch and Release for those of you who are interested.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ten mile creek snow melt.

     Ten mile today was high and the water clarity was perfect.  Which is why I was suprised that I didn't catch a fish.  I stripped junk of all different sizes and colors hoping to hook into something, anything, some sauger, bass, the occasional trout or maybe even a muskie.  Sad to report, nothing.  I have to say I am not suprised after speaking with a friend of mine from the Isaac Walton League who stops by the house almost weekly to take water samples.  I was informed that they had not stocked the trout for the annual kids fishing competition in October,  which is anticipated by many every year (including myself).  The water condition is not to standard to be healthy for the trout.  The Ph balance and conductivity of the water is way off, and I know many species of fish will chase but not take under these condtions. I am impressed by the dedication of this man and others to consistently check the Ph balances amongst other things in different places on many different creeks.  The main goal is to keep tabs on big business in the area, coal mines, gas well companies, and the state.  I am glad that there is an organization out there dedicated to this and am sure going to join next year.  
    I am not sure, but I am under the impression that they are still going to stock and still have the kids tournament.  Now this is stocked by the league due to the fact that it is not state-approved trout waters.  I fish it a lot and feel that it would be a great fisherie, not that it isn't already.  But I feel with a little help from the state it could be great.  Now that could have a upside and a downside, seeing as we have all been to Linden and other creeks around the area that are comparible to amusement parks on the first weekend of trout season.  I feel that the imprint left on these enviroments from this is detrimental.  I typically try to avoid these places that time of year.  I have a pretty good feeling Ten Mile would turn into that.  
     Does anyone else have anything to add to this post? Feel free.  Opinions are welcomed, especially from those familiar with the Ten Mile area.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013


     Well this was a big year for me. I married the love of my life Diane Mazeppa, well Hritz now as it may be.  She really is a great and understanding woman and would have to be to put up with this guy for those of you who may know me you understand.  She made her maiden voyage into fly fishing with me this year on the Potomac River, which turned out to be an uneventful day for all who were there.

          This year also brought quite a few more firsts. I caught a lot of nice fish, some fish i have never caught on a fly before, fished a lot of new areas, and most of all started this blog. Oh, yeah, I'm also a bobblehead now.          


      Well, after much anticipation and hesitation on my part its finally here.  "Tattoed Troutbum"  is on the scene.  The goal for this page is to put southwestern Pennsylvania fly fishing on the radar for people who feel this area doesn't have much to offer.  I've grown up fishing this area and surrounding areas. Now I was not always on the fly but I've spent a great majority of my life with a rod in my hand of some sort.  So I am getting this started and just going to let it take me wherever it may go.
      Fishing consumes me, especially fly fishing.  A majority of my free time and more often than not time that i should really be doing some chore is devoted to fishing in some sort.  Whether it be tying flies, scouting new water, reading and trying to learn new techniques, buying new gear,  or even just bullshitting in a bar about how good I want to be and what my aspirations are.   I  sometimes think it's not normal, but for those of you out there who feel just like me, take the time to follow my blog for a bit this page might just suit you.  I've been at this for going on twenty+ years and I feel like it is time to do something with it.   What, I am just not quite sure yet.
     Writing is quite new to me, other than in my journal, so those of you who might literary experts will just have to bare with me, don't be too harsh.  I am aiming to direct this page toward weekly fishing reports and knowledge sharing and anyone who might have anything that they would like to share through this site is more than welcome to.  My plan for the next entry is a trip to the Elk River and maybe stick a few of the 20+ browns that i have been hearing about.