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Harmans's West Virginia Trip Report

Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 01/12/2017 (2014 reads)
Through the generosity of one of our Sponsors, Ed Wooton from Harman's Luxury Cabins offered a free weekend getaway to a lucky winner in a raffle. I was the lucky winner and have to say I am glad I entered.


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The first order of business was to find some folks to join me and with the short notice it turned out that Slay12345 and my brother in law mblatt, were able to oblige. So on Friday we scrambled to gather our gear and began the journey to WVA.

We traveled in low 20 degree temps on Friday but a warm snap was upon us and by morning it was above freezing with freezing rain coating every surface outside. We arrived to the fireplace running and a comfy temperature inside.

I tied some flies in in the cabins lower floor sitting area in front of the warm fire and flat screen TV showing the Penguin game while Mick stabbed olives in a glass full of vodka I think. Josh showed up late and we met and shared stories of our fishing addictions over a few cocktails.


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In the morning on Saturday, Josh, Mick and I enjoyed some hot coffee in our beautiful home for the weekend as we talked ourselves into braving the freezing rain only to stand in 35 degree water after busting out ice. Knowing the air temp was going to increase all day to a high of 55 was on our minds though so we soldiered through the dressing and trip over the icy hill to the river. We found a long riffle, run, pool sequence based on a little research over the past few hours and it proved to have plenty of room for three guys to flyfish. The North Fork of the South Branch of Potomac is a fairly large river that had flows in the 220CFS range for the weekend we were there. It also is rather filthy with fish...Rainbow Trout to be exact.


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A short time after breaking free and drifting a few giant ice sheets so we could wade ( a skill we developed in Erie for Steelhead) we quickly got into fish. Rainbows, largely in the 15"-20" range and heavy. I started by swinging a dumbell eye rabbit strip streamer that I had tied the night before. It took a few casts but After a few short strikes I realized I had to slow it down and soon began hooking up, landing about half those that bit while I just hung the streamer in the current and twitched it. Josh was downstream up over his waist in ice water and was hooking up as well using egg patterns. I switched over to dredging eggs and beadheads at that point because of the low landing rate with the streamer. Mick was rewarded with a huge bow for his first fish, immediately after complaining about not getting bit.

The water was c-c-c-cold! Frozen feet and fingers was a price we paid for the frequent hook ups with heavy rainbows. Just looking at Josh made me even colder I think. I don't know how he did it. I guess from the power from his digital camera being out all the time warmed him up. LOL. Every time I looked down there he had a bent rod or was looking in his net. Mick was doing well above me too.

During the day we saw the sun poke through a few times and the ice covered trees rained down on the water providing some interesting views between fish. We hadn't seen the landscape when we arrived the evening before and the morning was very foggy. While the fog lifted the gray fuzzy filter from our view, it revealed sheer rocky cliffs, green moss covered hillsides and Lichen It was beautiful!

Some of our fish were pretty chunky, maybe a few over 20" by a hair, some over 4 lbs I think. It reminded me of steelhead fishing. Especially the need to get out of the crik and walk because I had Block Foot. Around noon we all started walking around the banks warming our feet and apparently chilling our legs as was explained to me by Josh later that day. You see when your feet are freezing and you are standing still, then begin to walk and get the blood moving, that cold blood begins working its way up your legs and makes them cold. Learn something new everyday.

I went back to the cabin for a bite to eat and to try to get the "rest of my blood" to be the same temperature. Josh and Mick followed shortly after and we compared notes and went back out for the last couple hours of daylight. By now the air had warm gusts and there was a more optimistic feeling about climbing down that slippery hill to the stream.

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We went to another long pool section and basically repeated the pattern we had in the am. After it got too dark to fish we celebrated our successful day with a toast and went down the road for a bite to eat. We ate at a small "greasy spoon" down the road. (It was my recommendation by the way) I like to experience local examples of Americana even though the food may not meet your expectations. Sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you foul one off. I'd call this place a bloop single down the line. But the waitress was nice which is probably what got us to first base.

Anyway, we finished the evening with a few libations and a recount of the days events over an Eric Clapton concert featuring Derek Trucks on the boob tube while Josh tied SJ worms. We also discussed fishing the next morning but woke to a steady rain and it seemed prudent to just hit the road after checking out and meeting our host Ed Wooton. Great guy, shared a great deal of information for our return trips, which will likely happen for sure.

So a Big Thumbs UP for Harman's and their accommodations, the fishing and beauty of the area. We learned there are plenty of other sections to fish on the NFSB Potomac too so that was encouraging. The drive home out of that valley in the daylight was impressive as well.

Trip comments in the forum here. Pictures by Josh Slaymaker.
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