Fairfax County, Virginia, May 18, 2007
A light drizzle of rain fell as I fished Holmes Run from mid-morning to early afternoon on a cold, gloomy, overcast day.

I parked at Upper Holmes Run, across the street from Barcroft Dam, and walked the new foot path to see how far it went and to check on how far construction has progressed downstream since last week.

There are five stream crossings before you arrive at the end, which is the swimming pool complex at Glen Echo Park on Chambliss Street. The foot path is level and very wide. They are now in the process of cleaning up major construction debris and grass seeding the raw fill areas on either side of the new path. The path is still tightly compacted gravel and dirt, but I suspect that a hot asphalt coating will soon be laid down.

I fished the lower end of Holmes Run and worked my way back upstream. As I fished a pool below a high embankment, I heard loud mechanical noises and rocks began landing around me. Very large rocks. I backed up against the embankment and began shouting but whoever was throwing the rocks couldn't hear me over the sound of construction equipment. After a few minutes the engines shut off and I shouted loudly that I was fishing below. I made my way up to the path and saw one of the workers about to chuck a large rock into the stream. He was surprised to see me. I told him to watch out when he throws rocks because people fish down there.

I continued to fish back towards the parking lot and pulled several trout out of the deep pools. There are still some very large trout in Holmes Run but now they are very wary. If they hit the fly and you don't get a good hook set, they are reluctant to try for the same fly again. Switching to something else usually entices them to strike again. The key flies are a Size 16 bead head Pheasant Tail flashback, a Pheasant Tail flashback with no bead, or a Size 8 bead head Wooly Bugger in black, stripped slowly (allow it to sink deep before beginning the retrieve). In some pools the fish would only hit if there was movement to the fly--slow strip on the Bugger or twitching the nymphs on the drift.

I can see future problems for Holmes Run when this new pathway is complete. Graffiti has already appeared on a slate hill face. Huge orange letters spelled out “CraZ.” It reflected onto the water while I fished. Is this what we can expect once the new walkway is complete? Will the rocky hills of Holmes Run become a canvas for every tagger in the area? I hope not.

EQUIPMENT: I used a 3-wt rod and a variety of flies.

DIRECTIONS: Holmes Run Stream Valley Park is located on Columbia Pike (244) amid apartments, residential housing and strip malls. As you drive on 244 towards Leesburg Pike (Rt. 7) the road will slope downhill. To your right you will see a large apartment complex and on your left will be the face of the Lake Barcroft Dam. You will drive cross a bridge with a covered pedestrian walkway. At this point SLOW DOWN and get into the RIGHT LANE. The road will begin to go uphill. To your right is a small, paved road that looks like a bike path. THIS IS THE ENTRANCE. It's a sudden right turn so make sure the car on your tail knows you're turning. Park and follow the paved path to Holmes Run Stream Valley Park.