22" inch club gets a new Member!!

Saturday saw a dank and dreary start. A cold front pushed through Amish country and left us with a grey sky. I had made plans with Jeff (RiverRat) Stanifer. Expert fly tyer, competition fly angler, and the best nymph fisherman I know.

We headed to the upper portion of the catch and release water. After rigging up, Jeff tied on two flies he had worked on this past winter. The water was VERY low and clear. Surprising considering the overnight rains. Jeff pulled out some line and made his first cast right into the branches above. I jumped in and pulled out two chubs as he rigged back up. Not what we were after.

Next cast for Jeff... Same result. Inches away from the previous rig! We worked for five minutes to retrieve his flies and decided it would be a good idea to head downstream to the deeper pools and open air. Jeff was fishing a Greys 10 ft 5 wt streamflex rod. These rods are designed for European style nymphing, perfect sections of the Amish water.

Most of the "spring" pools were gone. The water was so low, we could see to the bottom... I was disappointed , and nervous that I may not be able to put Jeff on some fish. I sent Jeff to down to Big Bow Bend and fished a shallow run 50 yards up stream. A few seconds later I heard Jeff, scream "Holy Balls!!!.... I need some help down here!!!"

I threw my rod on the bank jumped up and sprinted to Jeff, stripping off my vest and chucking my water bottle on the way. I grabbed Jeff's net, looked over his shoulder and saw what looked like a steelhead tight on his line. After a short battle Jeff raised the fishes head and I netted the beast. You would have thought we just won the Super Bowl. We jumped around like a couple of school girls, giggling and high-fiving. Jeff gave the fish a quick drink before pictures and the measurement... Just over 22".

The bite was tough the rest of the day. We both took some other nice fish, but nothing to compare to the big bow.

At the end of the day, we toasted the fish with some Jameson, still shaking our heads and laughing. It's a day I won't forget.

So, for the record, the 22" club now includes:

Mike Beachy (2x's)
Chris Miller
Jeff Stanifer

I gave up gunning for "The Big One" long ago... And I won't let the taunting of these few lure me into trying to join there fraternity.... But damn, I wanna catch a big fish!

Stay tuned.


River is at its June level. Low and clear. Fish are holding in the deep runs. The bite has been consistent and soft.

Buggers, small streamers, and caddis nymphs. Black and olive with a little flash on the buggers, don't be afraid to go light on the streamers. Nymphs in the 12 - 16 range. The fish are deep!

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Location:Catch & Release Water