Alexandria, Virginia, January 1, 2010
"Don't bother," said the gentleman walking his dog. I was standing on a bluff swapping out one nymph for another while Jin laid out a few casts below me and his comment caught me off guard. "The water is too high...too dirty. You're not going to catch anything today," he said.

"Yeah, but we have no choice. We're just making the best of a bad situation," I replied. I don't know if he fished but as he walked away he looked over his shoulder and nodded at me in an understanding way--recognition from the brotherhood of anglers that he understood why we were standing there in the cold flailing away at the muddy water attempting to entice a trout to bite. He didn't stop to chat but continued down the path towards Colombia Pike with his dog. I finished tying on a heavily weighted size 12 Czech Nymph and a much smaller size 18 black Hare's Ear above it then looked over the embankment to see if Jin had any luck.

It was a cold, damp day that kicked off the first day of fishing in 2010. It had rained heavily for most of the previous and and night but Jin was in town and we both had permission to fish for a few hours so we decided to hit our favorite fishing spots at
Holmes Run Stream Valley Park. We began at the lower end at Chambliss Street and worked our way upstream. The ongoing sewer improvement project rearranged or eliminated several of our favorite fishing spots along Glen Hills Park so we only stopped long enough to throw a few casts to see if anyone wanted to play then quickly moved on.
I took Jin to a spot I fished in November and pointed out a few places that held fish. The water was absolutely horrid. Standing in shin-deep water, you couldn't see your boots. But when you draw a weekend pass from the boss-of-the-house to fish, you better make the best of it and FISH. Hard.

I worked the water with several varieties of nymphs and drew two tentative taps as I worked the slower water just outside the main current. The takes were very subtle--the indicator would stop moving for just a second so the hook set had to be fast. Evidently I wasn't fast enough. However Jin had switched to a small black woolly bugger and managed to hook and land a nice brown trout. It's colors were a bit pale, but fish in stained water often develop a lighter shading which turns darker after the water clears up.

We continued to fish upstream but it was soon time for us to leave and I'll admit it didn't take much coaxing to get me to walk off the water.

EQUIPMENT: We used 3-weight rods, floating lines and various nymphs and streamers.

DIRECTIONS: The upper section of Holmes Run Stream Valley Park is located just off 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 cross a bridge with a covered pedestrian walkway. At this point slow down and get in the right lane. The road will begin to slope 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 path to Holmes Run.

The lower section of Holmes Run can be reached at Glen Hills Park on North Chambliss Street. There is no parking lot--the road ends at the park. Follow the path upstream. It takes you to Columbia Pike and the Lake Barcroft Dam. For the more adventurous angler, try fishing Holmes Run downstream of Glen Hills Park. There are trout there. You just have to find them.