When Paul, a co-worker of my
wife, asked me to go fly-fishing with him, I was a little hesitant. Iím at
that age now when I can take my fishing seriously, and who I go fishing with
even more so. At least thatís what the old fishermen say. I can be
competitive, but itís not in my nature. I donít like to fish with
score keepers. Iíd only this potential fishing partner a few times, and I
wasnít sure heíd fit the bill. He seemed like a nice enough guy, but people
can change drastically when theyíre not at work and they donít have their
wives looking over their shoulders.
Trepidation aside, this was also
an opportunity to go scout out some new water. Iíd gotten a day pass from my
regular job as a stay-at-home dad and was determined to make the best of it.
Paul had made all the arrangements, securing the guide and picking the
stream. Score one in Paul's favor, thereís nothing like hooking up
with an organized fishing buddy!
Paul had secured the services of
Mr. Bob Bell; a seasoned guide, through Delamere & Hopkins in Cincinnati.
Paul and Bob decided weíd go to Dix Creek, a tail water stream below
Lake Herrington. Dix is also a tributary of the Kentucky River and that's
how we would access it. There's about a mile of fishable trout water on Dix.
To fish it right one needs the right gear. That includes a boat.
A flat-bottomed jon boat with a jet motor was our guideís vessel of choice.
We heard tell, and eventually confirmed, that hardier folk can get there in
canoes or kayaks, but Iím ten years past doing stuff like that. Did I
mention I take care of two kids? Bob's jon boat made the trip
My usual in-depth research
(gossiping with opinionated fishermen) determined that Dix creek is one of
those "mixed opinion" streams. There are some tales of big trout coming out
of the Dix, but the biggest gripe anybody voiced with was that it was darned
hard to get to. Well, after making the trek, I'll confirm it really is hard
to get to. Driving from Cincinnati, it took Paul and I an hour-and-a-half to
get to the boat ramp on the Kentucky River. For those hardcore orienteering
types that's near Lock #7. From there you motor downstream for a
couple of miles to High Bridge. High Bridge is a railroad trestle.
Our guide told tales of the record setting trestle heights, and of bridge
You can always tell an old
river. At least in geologic time, the old ones start meandering like a ĎSí
curved, mountain road. The Kentucky river attests itís age with a panoply of
150 foot and higher cliff banks, cut by the river over eons. My flatland
fishing experience hadnít prepared me for how truly pretty it was. The
confluence of the Kentucky river and Dix creek is subtle, so you have to
keep a lookout for it. Going down river, itís on river-right.
From the confluence with the
Kentucky River, the trip up Dix Creek took about 20 minutes at speed. The
need for the jet motor was demonstrated when we navigated the rapids and
very shallow water of the first riffle. Because this trip took place in
autumn, the fallen leaves on the water made keeping the boat on plane
difficult. The boatís jet-style engineís intake was getting constantly
clogged with leaves and it had to be cleared every couple minutes. Even with
that challenge, we made it to the creek very quickly. One good rainstorm and
we might have been rowing and using spinning rods, what with all the leaves
that were still left on the trees!
We started fishing at the first
riffle, initially fishing with a nymph/dropper rig. Iím not a dry fly purist
but, to me, this felt like a lot of metal to be slinging . I found it
takes a while to get used to it. An upside is that it was a great thrill for
the first fish of the day to be taken on one of my bead-head, hares-ear
nymphs! I'd only started tying flies about a year prior. When
the sun came out we tied on foam beetle patterns. that did a great job
coaxing the trout to the surface. A parachute Adams was also a killer
pattern, drawing a lot of strikes.
After fishing the first riffle,
Paul and I walked upstream to watch Bob take his boat through the lower
rapids. Iíve seen some wild stunts done with a boat, but this was amazing!
The lower rapids are definitely not for prop motors! In addition to being a
nimble form of transportation, Bob's jon boat is a great fishing platform.
Bob could easily keep position using oar-power while Paul and I fished.
The jon boat was comfortable for
two fly fishers. One of us would fish with an overhand cast and the other
used a cross-body cast whenever we both wanted to fish the same side of the
river. When we fished opposite sides, there was plenty of room for a full
overhand casting. A little awareness of your partnerís back-casts is all it
took. That, and the casting practice that Iíd had fishing the very
brushy Mad River!.
I can never say enough about a
good guide. You donít always get to chose, but when you get a really good
guide it makes everything about the day better. Bob definitely knows his
stuff. It was obvious he'd been on Dix Creek often. He knew every nook
and cranny of that stream, navigated it with ease, and got us into as many
fish as our skill level could handle. I give him extras points for even
complimenting my, sometimes, grungy nymph patterns! His attention to
detail extended to the cold lunch he provided. The trip details and
guide service were thoughtfully and professionally done. And best of
all, Paul ended up being a great fishing buddy! Paul is competitive, but he
was quiet about it on that trip. Maybe it was the fact that he caught more
fish then I did!
Directions to the ramp from
I-75 SOUTH towards Lexington -
Take the KY-922/BG PARKWAY exit towards AIRPORT/KEENELAND/LEXINGTON,
Continue on NEWTOWN PIKE until you see the entrance for NEW CIRCLE RD/KY-4
WEST/BG PARKWAY towards AIRPORT ST This is a sweeping right. You are now on
the New circle loop. Follow it around until you come to the HARRODSBURG
RD/US-68 exit towards HARRODSBURG/LEXINGTON, turn right. Follow 68 towards
the SHAKER VILLAGE until you come to the 29/68 split. Veer left. You now on
29 going towards WILMORE. Pass through WILMORE and continue towards HIGH
BRIDGE. Follow 29 until it dead ends. You will pass the HIGH BRIDGE FIRE
DEPT. Turn right and follow the road down to the ramp. Note: This is a fee
ramp. $4.00 per boat and trailer.