After spending seven hours in a dim meeting room, I ended St. Patrick's Day on the Rocky River. Bright sunshine contrasted with the murky, high water. Downstream of Morley's Ford I encountered several signs of spring -- suckers. The one to three pound fish fill the Rocky after ice out. They foreshadow the major spring run of steelies by a week to 10 days.
After working a run for 45 minutes with nothing more than suckers to show, I headed south to the East Branch of the Rocky. Water was murky, but a little lower than down below. A half dozen anglers stood in the normal spots, but there was plenty of unoccupied holding spots. Jim spotted a fish working behind a boulder, and said he saw some others in the riffles. I wasn't seeing any fish, but kept high sticking the runs with a green sucker spawn and small black stonefly dropper. A few black flies (a stretch to call them stone flies, more like overgrown midges) were coming off the water.
Using a tip I picked up from Eric Stroup of Spruce Creek Fly Co. this past weekend, I made sure my fly rod stayed in front of the leader as it cut through the run. The line paused, I set the hook and a skipjack came bursting out of the tan-colored water. The fish had inhaled the black stone and after a few brief runs came to the hand. Amazing how one fish can make a day full of meetings into a great day, indeed.