Stump is an Old Order Mennonite who owns a section of Mossy Creek
here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
I am lucky to be one of a group of a half a dozen folks who have
known him for a long time and have developed
a special relationship with him and his wife Cathy and their two
sons and young daughter. They allow us to stock
their section of the stream with catchable trout and fish it whenever
we wish except Sunday. Pictured here is his
horse which powers his buggy, his only transportation.
Mossy Creek is a typical Eastern spring creek, with clear waters
and lots of weed beds.
The watercress is just beginning to grow now, creating swift channels
between dense beds of lush cress. The
trout like to lurk just along the edges of the cress beds retreating
to their depths when spooked. Getting a good
drift in the swift channels with your line hung up on the watercress
is always a challenge.
The trout in Mossy are pretty spooky, especially in the bright
sunlight I experienced today. I therefore usually fish
from my knees as much as possible.
The run below the little post on the other side has a nice fish
in it that is always spooked if you try for
him from the other side. Unfortunately the cress beds between
me and the run make my drift a very
short one at best. The big fellow eluded me today as he almost
Stump doesn't have a lot of trees along the stream. Of course
my back cast usually seeks one out if it
is anywhere near.
Stump put in two new dams this year. This one is just a dandy.
The riffle below it used to be nothing but
a shallow flat, but has developed into a nice weedy run along
the left bank which held at least a dozen
small browns today. The long flat above used to have only one
short section deep enough to hold fish.
Now they hold along the weedy bottom the whole way up to the bend.
He used a telephone pole and some heavy stone on the upper side
to make a really natural looking tumble dam.
Once the grass grows up on either side, it will be a lovely addition
to his property and our stream.
The browns we put in a couple weeks ago have found the waters
of the dam particularly to their liking and
were rising to who knows what today. They seemed to think my Teeter
caddis was close enough, though.
I managed to hook that little fellow right off.
He took my Tweeter caddis way down in the gill rakers, but I managed
to get the small fly out without
injuring the gills.
Pretty little fellow for a stocker, isn't he.
This is the first dam we put in several years ago. It has suffered
from floods a couple times but has remained
a good fish holder both above and below ever since we put it in.
That is a long shot up to its base, but worth
the effort to make the long cast. I usually manage to get a couple
good rainbows in the fast riffle below it.
I couldn't get their attention today, though.
Pretty run, isn't it. They like to hold just to the left of the
bubbles and in the pockets to the extreme right and left.
It is the slack water above the dam that usually gets me a good
fish, though. I saw a good rise at the far corner
today. That is about a sixty foot cast from where I'm perched.
I was pretty sure of a good solid take, so I had
Mary Lu hide behind the sycamore tree just to my upper right to
see if she could get a shot of him taking my fly.
Bang, she got him. I told her to be sure and get a good picture
of this one. Don't you know it, the Nikon locked up
and she missed the good one of me holding him in the sunlight.
After I reaset the camera, I got a nice shot of him resting in
the weed beds after I released him.
Notice the heron peck in his back.This was a holdover fish from
last year. He is not nearly as well colored
as some of the holdovers, though. I think they brighten up later
in the season.
You can't have a spring creek without a good deep run under an
old gnarled willow tree.
This one holds some of the best fish in the whole stream.
Here is an example of what the willow hole gave up today.This
nice rainbow is holdover trout from
last summer. Notice the Tweeter caddis in his upper lip.
I consider myself a very lucky person
to have such
good friends in Stump and his family. Without
their friendship I wouldn't be able to enjoy such
a fine Spring day on Mossy Creek. Thanks for taking
the time to join me on my wonderful Spring day.