By Chris Shaffer | 04/25/2013
My fishing buddy Robert Fix and I were trying to persuade each other. Fix, who lives in West Virginia, hoped to convince me to drive north and trout fish near Princeton, West Virginia, an area he knew extremely well. I, on the other hand, wanted to fish a scenic mountain stream in Virginia, a place neither of us had ever seen, or fished.
After all, the purpose of this excursion was to prove that our Pautzke Orange Deluxe and Yellow Jacket Balls O Fire salmon eggs work on any trout, anywhere. Choosing a system neither of us had experience fishing, and catching rainbows on an egg that isn’t often drifted in the region, would speak volumes for the product.
Fix made a few calls to local Wal-Mart stores in Southwest Virginia and quickly learned that Big Stoney Creek, between Pearisburg and Blacksburg, was the most popular, scenic and heavily fished in the area. A few miles outside of Pembroke, in the Jefferson National Forest, most anglers in the region know this stream. It’s no secret.
“We probably shouldn’t fish there,” Fix told me on the phone. “It hasn’t been stocked in a few weeks and the department managers are telling me it’s been getting a lot of pressure.”
Perfect, I said. That’s the one. Let’s fish it tomorrow afternoon.
The day prior Pautzke TV Co-Host Tim Roller and our group had proven these eggs, and our FireBait, worked on freshly planted trout. This was an opportunity to drift eggs into holes that were overfished the past few weeks. Most of the stocked trout were caught, Fix was told.
“You sure you want to do this?” Fix said. “They said we should probably wait for the next stocking. You know there are some streams that were stocked today.”
For those from out of state, like Robert and I, trout fishing in Virginia is an investment. There’s no one-day trout stamp. Anglers must purchase an annual trout stamp ($47), National Forest Permit ($4) and five-day freshwater fishing license ($21). Do the math: $72 just to wet a line in a stocked stream, if you don’t reside in Virginia.
We bought the licenses and hit the stream.
While thunderstorms loomed and anglers filled most of the obvious roadside stocking areas, the clock was ticking. It was 3 p.m. In a race against daylight we started fishing.
For those who haven’t been to Big Stoney Creek, it’s a medium size trout stream with large, deep pools, riffles, runs, pocket water and plenty of seams. What it doesn’t have is frog water; meaning just about every inch of the stream could harbor trout.
We had a lot of water to cover. And, water that was already combed by anglers for weeks without a fresh stocking.
We weren’t worried.
Fix and I each rigged single salmon egg hooks on four-pound monofilament and placed two BB split-shots on the line to get our eggs down in this fast water. Having seen success in the past with Gold Label, we focused on two eggs: Orange Deluxe and Yellow Jackets.
There weren’t many anglers who had caught fish in the 5-mile section of water we covered. Most walked the bank in hopes another stocking truck showed soon in this heavily fished section of water. We, on the other hand, slid two-to-three salmon eggs on the hook and began casting.
While missing several takedowns, we caught about 15 trout (for proof, watch http://youtu.be/20tHMs6-vm8), mostly small 8-11 inch planters, exclusively on Orange Deluxe and Yellow Jackets in about three hours. Being so close to Virginia Tech, maybe it was the orange eggs that sparked the bite, or perhaps more than 75 years of egg science packed into each jar of Pautzke eggs.
Regardless, next time you pitch eggs at Virginia trout keep a jar of Orange Deluxe or Yellow Jackets around. They tend to catch limits in those fished out streams.
Editor’s Note: Chris Shaffer is the Director of Operations at Pautzke Bait Company and owns three Virginia Tech hoodies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org