Recently I had the opportunity to get a client out on the Clear Fork of the Mohican nestled in central Ohio in the heart of Mohican State Park. Each year I have the opportunity to get out and fish this water with clients a couple of times, and I enjoy it each time I'm out.
Having not been down in a while I decided to get down a day early and do some scouting. It was getting a bit late for quality hatches, but prudence and wisdom said get down early to get acquainted with current conditions, so I did.
I knew ahead of time that the water would be awfully low in comparison to what I normally fish it at which could be a challenge in itself. When I arrived, it was definitely lower than I have ever fished it, and that is pretty much the story for other streams currently across central Ohio. The question I had in my mind was how many Cahills were around as they would be the predominant mayfly species available on the wing if there was anything at all to be had.
Much to my dismay, there were next to no Mayflies around the day I arrived. I may have seen 20 or 30 all day, but no more. I guess the upside though is that the Clear Fork always has caddis around. Both the free roaming and cased forms are abundant in the stream.
In my day of scouting, I busted a modest amount of trout with a very nice river Smallie to boot. Regardless of my results, one thing was certain, the day with clientele would be tough. The fact that there weren't any hatches was a downer and the forecast was for rain and potential t-storms. The actual positive side of the rain was the possibility of BWO's coming off with the overcast day.
Well, I called it a day, got a good nights rest and was back to meet my client Jaime at 6a.m. in Loudonville. Just as forecasted, it was raining and it persisted all morning. The good thing was that my client was a great guy. He was a fun guy to spend a day with (rain or shine) and we actually had video production in common which made it that much more enjoyable.
Jaime was a very teachable guy! I loved his willingness to rise to a challenge which he did with the utmost beauty. I would build up the task ahead and instead of shrinking back, he would ask questions and ask for demonstrations and then go to doing it.....and most often, he did it quite well.
The bad side of the day was that Jaime didn't land anything. Yes I said that with me being the guide, my client got skunked and I don't mind saying so, because the conditions were tough! He did have a few shots at a fish willing to work the surface, but never quite made connection which happens to the best of us.
JAIME FISHES A NICE RUN ON THE
CLEAR FORK OF THE MOHICAN
One cool thing we witnessed while on the river was something I hadn't ever seen. As we walked along the river I noticed a snapping turtle up in the grass with fresh dirt behind it. I thought it was a bit odd to see a turtle up in such an exposed public area and couldn't believe that it would actually be nesting...if in fact that is what it was doing.
A VERY NICE AMERICAN SNAPPING TURTLE SPECIMAN
As we moved in on the turtle, she shuffled slightly exposing and confirming my suspicions. She in fact had made a couple of attempts at starting a nest and aborted finally selecting this location. It was amazing that she was able to dig such a precise hole in which to lay her eggs.
UPON FURTHER INSPECTION, WE FOUND ONE EGG.
LOOK CLOSELY AND YOU CAN SEE IT DEEP IN THE HOLE.
After we witnessed the turtle spectacle, it was fishing the rest of the day. And fishing is what transpired. There were a few fish caught...however, the unfortunate side of it is that I was the one catching them.
Jaime fished his guts out and said that he wasn't accustomed to such technically challenging fishing conditions. Despite a tough day, he stuck with it and gave it his all. Every now and then though he would proclaim, "I'm running low on patience, show me how you would do it." One of these days I will start declining those requests (I swear), but on this day I didn't and found myself regretting it as I would find a Brown on the end of my line. The fish below was one that I landed while demonstrating. Hey, it happens to every guide....some just don't like to admit it. I don't make a practice of catching fish with my clients, but every now and then it happens. On this slow day my client was gracious enough to enjoy the fullness of the demonstration and even photographed it quickly for me (He takes good photos too) and we released it!
A CLEAR FORK BROWN TROUT FALLS VICTIM
The fly of the day(s) was a damselfly nymph that I tie up. The river was full of them and many were emerging in the surrounding brush while we were there. Perhaps I will find time in the future to do another tying tutorial and tie that pattern up for you.
The day although less than what we would have desired turned out being a very enjoyable day. Jaime, you were a great student and very willing to learn. Thanks for your patience on a tough day...I look forward to seeing you and your friends out for your first Steelhead this fall. I guarantee you will love the tug of the chrome that frequent our waters on Steelhead Alley.
Until next time, tight lines....
Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Steelhead Alley Outfitters