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5-26-03 - On the advice of a friend I checked out another location that I'm going to keep to myself for now...the upper springs was totally grown over...supposed to have brook trout...none seen.
Same goes for the lower springs. However, PLENTY of Bass and Panfish!
Largemouth Bass #1!
Rock Bass #1!
Largemouth #2!
Surprise, softball sized Bluegill!
Rock Bass #2!
One of many Green Sunfish!
This close-up shows WHY I bother fishing for such small panfish (granted they're a lot of fun on a 4 wt.). Look at the STUNNING coloration; rivals any trout!

5-26-03 - Wait, it's not Heaven, it's "Trout HELL"!

Rivers Fished: McKeawn Springs, Paradise Springs
Fish Caught: 7+
Outing Date: 5-26-03
Weather: Sunny
Air Temp: 60's & 70's
Water Temp: McKeawn Springs - 60F in the Spring, Paradise Springs 60F.
Water Level: N/A
Water Color: Crystal
Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Rock Bass, Green Sunfish, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout
Pattern Fished: MP's Antron Bug, Brassie and a host of others.
Pattern Color: N/A
Fishing Quality: Sometimes you should quit while you're ahead.

What a gorgeous day to be out. Sunny, clear blue sky with the occasional cloud; just a gorgeous day. I started my day at another set of springs; McKeawn, at 1:00. The spring on one sides flows underneath the road, filling the pond below, which then flows into marsh eventually joining with the Scuppernong. A temp check of the flowing water showed 60F; the lower pond was closer to 70F in the sun.

I had been told to look for not only bass but brookies...as I walked around the pond on the more traveled side I noticed several largemouths in the shallows, some on beds, others just cruising. My first offering was a black wolley bugger; bad choice...all it did was SPOOK the fish.

After fishing the entire length of the pond I opted to switch offerings; clearly the black wolley bugger wasn't working. Time for a fly that almost NEVER fails; MP's Antron Bug in Herring. My first offering was into one of the many deep clearings in the weeds; out of the deep a decent sized largemouth came up and SLAMMED the fly. This little TINY fly took this NICE bass...probably close to 2 lbs.! What a trip; Bass on a 4 wt. are AWESOME.

Still hoping for Brookies, I decided to walk back along the shore and cast father into the clearings in the middle of the pond. Didn't raise anything!

But then, there they were, a good 10-20 fish stacked up above the weeds close to where the spring flows down into the pond. My first cast got a LOT of fish to follow...at least 4 or 5. The faster I retrieved, the faster then chased! SWEET! 2 or 3 casts more produced my first hit on a pause in the retrieve. As I landed the fish I thought "what the heck is this, a crappie?" Nope, a ROCK BASS! Sweet.

A few more casts produced another hit, this time from a larger bass who busted in on the party and HAMMERED the fly. This guy was NOT coming into shore if he had his way, jumping and running like a true sportfish. I actually had to put him on the drag; first time I've used it on a 4 wt.! The adrenaline was pumping....heck that was 2 Largemouth in 20 minutes!

Soon thereafter wouldn't ya know it, ANOTHER considerably LARGER Rock Bass hammered the fly and it broke off. No problem; I tied on MP's Antron in Tan/Brown and continued to whack them uninterrupted. Another Rock Bass hammered it. Again a good fight on a 4 wt.

Then I got a real surprise...one of the largest Bluegills I've seen in a long time pummeled the fly. This guy absolutely refused to come to shore, using his disk shaped body to keep from being brought in. Several "lightning fast runs" from left to right, right to left followed before I finally turned him to look my way. What a great bluegill, about the same diameter as a large softball!

OK, so this was getting easy, and it was a LOT of fun. But I was really out for trout. Convinced that they weren't in the pond, I opted to head back to Trout Hell (aka. Paradise Springs).

Arriving at Paradise Springs I had no problem hooking up with a nice sized brown, around 12-14". He put up a fair fight. I was fishing from the pier, and wasn't going to haul him up on 2 lb. test, so I started to walk him around to the shore. Along the way he got all tangled up in a mat of floating algae and somehow managed to become unhooked EVEN THOUGH I had good consistent tension on the line. So as I was bringing up what I thought was a trout, all I had was a HUGE mat of green gunk! Well, I still count that as 1 brown for the day. I figured maybe I'd make this a "how many species can you get in a day" type of outing...so all I needed was a brookie!

YEAH RIGHT! By 5:00 I had gone through DOZENS of patterns. Just about ANYTHING would get looks on the first few casts, but NEVER a take. Other anglers showed up for a while and after chatting with a local who often fished the pond, I figured I needed a break. A quick trip to the pond by the parking lot and I landed SEVERAL Green Sunfish; now I was at 5 species. I figured 1 brookie here, a rainbow at Ceylon Pond or Quarry Lake, and then just as many different fish as I could pull out of Lake Geneva by Sunset

Lets just say the brookies had their way. I tried EVERYTHING. The WORST was when I tried a glo-bug...the huge rainbow that comes running ANYTIME something splashes came charging up to the glo-bug. He nosed it, turned around, came back, pushed it with his nose again, turned, did it again...a total of 6 NUDGES but NEVER a bite! UNREAL!

Thus my rating of the fishing. Between 1-3 I caught many fish and then everything on the trout side had shut down. I should've LEFT. Instead, I stayed until almost 9:00 PM trying to land the elusive brookie. A midge hatch came up in the evening along with some light & small mayflies; the only dry pattern that got a LOOK was a Light Cahill. Nothing else got their interest at all! Basically, my day at Paradise Springs was one of the most painful and humbling to date; imagine literally HUNDREDS of "LOOKS" by trout, all happening RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, but NEVER A BITE! TROUT HELL! TROUT HELL! Well, actually, it's still Trout Heaven. Basically a very mixed blessing; you WILL only fish it once :)

 

  MP 

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