The Red Fog
Posted on May 2, 2012 by Administrator
This is a story that is both an old one and a brand new one as it has always occured here and occurred as recently as 2 hours ago …..
How do you put into words an event that is so incredible it defies belief ? An event that makes magic seem mundane by comparison . An event that truly redefines extroidinary ? I am not sure I am up to the task but feel compelled to give it a go …..
The Red Fog is a swarm of mating 16 Sulphur spinners . The density of insects in this swarm is so heavy that you can stand in it and hear the soft hum of their wings while getting painted orange with their eggs and choking as you breath them in , which you have to do as it is impossible to draw a breath without breathing them in . There are literally millions of insects in one of there swarms which have been known at times to extend for 20 or 30 yards ! If you stand a couple hundred yards down river it looks like red smoke or fog appearing over the river , eventually forming what appears to be a solid wall . As you venture closer and closer the “wall” of spinners begins to reveal the staggering numbers of individuals in the collective . What appeared to be one solid thing is now seen to be millions of moving things and if by this point you are not completely awestruck than fly fishing just isn’t your game ……
There are times when I ask myself why I continue to stay here and fight the river’s battles after so many years of fighting them with so few clear victories . At these times I almost manage to convince myself that it can’t be worth it . How can anything be worth , at my age , constant warfare with loggers who try and smother her with mud , hoogers who try and steal her inhabitants , developers who would poison her water with sewage , etc .
Tonight she showed me once again just why the battles must be fought . She is a truly incredible resource , a national treasure and if treasure isn’t worth fighting for than what is …… The moving , breathing , living mass of Sulphur spinners that comprise the “Red Fog” is simply the most outrageous aquatic insect event I have ever witnessed , anywhere . It is a mass of mayflies you can’t see through ! This is the kind of thing you dream about from the 1st time you pick up a fly rod but really don’t expect to ever see . Only there it is and you can’t deny that you see it ! More incredible is what happens next …..
When the fog hits the water you realize for the 1st time just how many trout live here ! Much like the numbers of the “bugs” , the numbers of trout must be seen to be believed and once that image is burned into your brain it can never be forgotten . Yes everyone knows there are a lot of quality fish here but when the fog hits the water take your best previous guess (on numbers of trout ) and multiply it by 3 or 4 times . Yes , there are that many …. It is other-worldly to stand in the middle of hundreds upon hundreds of rising fish on a pool that a half hour before was all but lifeless , a pool that when viewed in very low water conditions appears to have maybe a couple dozen , at best . Did I mention that a LOT of these fish are very large brown spotted ones ? If not than I should have .
Tonight I had 2 very experienced fly fishers with me . One was from a California fly fishing club , the other from Virginia . Both have fished a large portion of the best trout water on the planet , from Argentina and Chile to Montana , to the best Canadian waters . The 1st simply said she had never witnessed anything like it , anywhere ! The 2nd said he had a couple times in his 62 years fly fishing but only a couple times . Both were completely blown away …….
I am sitting here , a few hours later knowing that I want my grandchildren’s , grandchildren to be able to experience this and therefore knowing I will keep fighting her battles , long odds be damned . The Red Fog demands this of me and I am proud to step up and take my best shot at it . Somethings in life are worth fighting for . I ask you to join me in this fight so that generations to come will be able to view the fog and sample the soup on Wv’s finest ! elkfisher
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