Posted on February 11, 2012 by Administrator
What is it that defines a club ? Let’s see …. dues are paid , there are bylaws , meetings and perhaps even a few odd (to the rest of the world ) rituals that are practiced repetitively . In light of that I guess the 10 , 20 , 30 club could actually be considered a club even though it is certainly not an organization . Tonight I want to share a little about the origins of one of Elk River’s most talked about fishing experiences and definitely her most talked about fraternity . It is already bringing back some great memories which is a good thing on a cold winters night …..
It started about 2 decades ago when I accidentally stumbled onto (and stumbled is literally what happened) the excellent midge fishing here . Prior to discovering Elk Springs my Wv fishing was done mostly on the many , much smaller , native/wild trout streams , with which Wv is amply blessed . The midge fishing had to wait until we (the band I was in ) played central Pa , which occurred often enough , that it afforded me ample opportunities to fish Spring Creek up by State College , which is another wonderful limestone stream where a small fly lover is right at home !
The stumble occured at what is now referred to as the Angle Hole . Standing on the high bank , mid-day , on my first visit to Elk Springs , I could see numerous soft rise forms that could have only meant one thing , midging fish ! Nita was lagging behind and I turned to tell her what I was witnessing . The bank gave way and I fell 10′ smacking my head on a large rock when I landed . My next memory is of my wife saying “Dave , Dave ” with panic in her voice (she later told me that my head hitting the rock sounded alot like a pumpkin hitting a parking lot , though she never did explain how she knew what that sounded like ) , then of asking her first if there was blood coming out of my ear and next going through a “systems check” ….. I am trying to move my right leg , I am trying to move my left arm , etc ….. Upon receiving confirmation that everything worked I looked at the waters edge and there were black midges everywhere ! Next was a glance out into the pool where the browns continued their rythmic sipping either not knowing or not caring that I had came close to fracturing my skull ….. I did the only thing that came to my still scrambled mind ….. I fished !
The small patterns I used at that time were very basic affairs . There were collar hackle midges in black , cream ,olive and dun (#’s 22-#28) and there was a little , very lightly palmered tan creation I called a Paradise Special (#28) due to its so often doing the trick on the Fisherman’s Paradise section of Spring Creek . That was it . Hmmm …black midges , tie on the black one ! It was a good afternoon other then the splitting headache .
I returned to the river constantly after that and each visit provided me with the opportuity to fish tiny flies and better yet to fish tiny flies on a river where no one else used them ! It was a time I will always treasure as the browns came to the little flies so innocently that it almost made me feel guilty for using them . I said almost ! There were no 5′ inspection drifts and few rejections . Get a reasonable drift , catch the fish , rinse and repeat . The few other people that fished here in the summer then would occasionally ask “what the heck are you using/doing ” ? They were interested but when you tried to share a few they would recoil as if you had tried to hand them a snake ! “If I had to do that to catch a fish I’d quit” was a fairly mild response . Some of the responses were slightly more opinionated ….. I soon came to be referred to as “that little fly guy” and it didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t a compliment ….. I continued to fish alone until I ran into Ken Yufer . Then life changed …..
Now my recollection of the first time I met the old man may be flawed but it is not intentionally so . In my 2nd season on the river , Ken and another fellow walked up to me down by the Trestle and after talking awhile they told me they were going to drop down and nymph the meadow section and asked me if I wanted to join them . I said I was heading that way but wouldn’t be nymphing and down the tracks we went with me dropping off early and heading for the Ledges while they continued on .
It was a good afternoon with fish sipping in pods , mostly little browns and I would fish up through the hole , drop back down and come up through again . Dropping back down for yet another pass I ran into Ken who said “I see they are rising” to which I replied “they are sipping midges” . What came next was unexpected ….. he replied “yes I know , they were taking this at the Phone Booth Hole” and held out his hand which contained a #22 black hackle midge , the smallest fly I had seen yet on the Elk other then in my own fly box . Finally a kindred spirit !
To be continued in Part 2 …..