“The best thing one can do when it is raining is to let it rain.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As the Honda CRV turned up the mouth of the valley leading to our camping destination, I experienced a little disappointment as I noticed a dark rain cloud further up the valley. I had hoped for sunny skies and warm temperatures, but it looked like we were in for the opposite.
That morning, I left early with my Brittany, Misty, in hopes of getting our coveted camping spot for our annual Memorial Day camping trip and to fish while I waited for the rest of my family and friends to show up. When I arrived at the campground, however, I found the camping spot already occupied and it was raining and cold. My mood soured even more under the circumstances.
Trying to stay positive, I quickly picked a decent camp site on a bluff overlooking the little river and—despite the inclement weather—decided to don my waders and a raincoat and try fishing anyway. I chose the Tenkara USA Rhodo rod and tied on a nymph and a foam indicator. Fortunately, the fishing was good despite the cruddy weather, but I got scared off the river a few times due to the booming thunder overhead. I never saw lightning, but understood that the two usually go hand in hand and—with a graphite lightning rod in hand and standing in water—I did not want to wait to find out if the lightning was coming. Misty didn’t seem to care one iota about the rain or the thunder, but enjoyed being outside chasing whatever critters she could find. At around noon, we were forced to take shelter in the car while an inch of pea-sized hail covered the car and ground around us.
“Sheesh, this stinks!” I stated out loud to Misty as we sat in the car.
After the hail let up and the skies shifted from black to gray, Misty and I again braved the elements. We hiked clear up the creek and I caught numerous rainbows and brooks on nymphs. The storm again turned for the worse and rain began pour. As I walked back downstream to try and get out of the slop, the river began to boil with trout as they feasted upon the abundant hatching blue wing olives. My attitude perked up immediately. With my numb fingers, I tied on an Adams, which worked okay, but I knew I had some patterns in the car that would be killer. So I hoofed it back to the car as quickly as I could and soon found a Harrop’s CDC BWO pattern, tied it on to the leader, and doped it up with floatant.
When I made it back down to the creek, the hatch was still in full force and it seemed that every fish in the creek was feeding. I have never before seen such a prolific blue wing olive hatch anywhere. Harrop’s fly pattern worked like a charm, the tenkara rod was effective for casting and getting a drag free drift and I caught tons of fish. To try and make things a little more challenging, I actually started fishing the skinniest, clearest water I could find and still caught fish. The tenkara rod was no handicap whatsoever this day.
All said, in spite of the bad weather, time flew by as I fished from 10:30 am to 5:20 pm. Misty had been a good fishing companion all day. While I did not keep count, I believe I caught more fish on this day than any other day before. What I thought would be a bust turned out to be a special day astream. Though the weather improved and the fishing was good the rest of the weekend, it was not epic as on Friday.
Later on that weekend a friend from a neighboring campsite asked me if I was the crazy man his family watched fishing in the rain and hail all day Friday. I laughingly replied, “Yep, that was me and the fishing was amazing!”