The early morning mist glowed in the soft light of the setting full moon. The coffee was strong and good at 5 in the morning as I stood on the front porch waiting for Mr. Votaw's headlights to appear on the street. Even though the storms of Friday and Saturday had risen river levels across the western part of the state, Dave and I had decided that a day at "attempted fishing" would still be better than a day without water at all. Close scrutiny of the USGS site revealed that certain northern tributaries of the Great Miami were running only slightly higher than seasonal average - perhaps two to three inches more water than typical. It was certainly worth a shot... 70 miles and a McDonald's breakfast later we pulled up to the locked gate of the little park on the river's bank. The warm summer air and golden, early light revealed manageable river levels when we crossed the flow along the road. We quickly rigged up and worked our way to the creek. Knowing this was a typically small flow, I had selected a 7'9" 5wt. "Far & Fine" Orvis rod and floating line. Coupled with a 10' Schweitzer "Deep Down" leader design, I knew the bottom substrate would be an easy reach if the fish were cooperative. Easing into the rushing waters, our anticipation was checked by heavily stained water in a normally gin-clear flow. The levels were higher than we had fished in the past, but optimism is a deep part of the fishing psychology. My stream thermometer read just over the 70 degree mark. Tricos were fluttering over the water, nothing else moved. Words did not reveal a mutual concern that we were in for a one-or-two fish slog. Wading and hiking to a point upstream of the shallow limestone shelves, we came upon the first "good" pool. I tied on a Foxee Redd Clouser, my most productive smallmouth pattern this year. Dave opted for a slider jig head tipped with a twin tail grub in a green pumpkin coloring. A couple quick false casts to lengthen the line and my fly plummeted to the rocky floor on a 3' 8lb test tippet. It wasn't more than three casts later that the line, returning to me on the relentless current after a short and gentle upstream cast, came tight and I strip-set the #6 hook. 11" of fiesty bronze rocketed straight up into the morning sun, drawing no distinction between air and water. Game on! Dave followed closely, answering with a chunky 14" fish of his own. Within minutes I retored with another 12" fish, belly full and hard with the results of the previous night's crayfish hunting. Despite cool, stained water and higher than normal flows it was clear the fish were in an aggressive feeding mood. We giggled like school children in the still morning air. By the time we had reached the tail-out of the first "big" pool we each had a couple smallies on the list and Dave was quickly making an impact on the local rock bass population. One after another the 7" to 9" red-eyed linesides volunteered to eat Dave's plastic offering. I was concerned that if he waded too deep the rock bass might actually rip the vest off his back in an attempt to get to the source of the Yamamoto frauds! The theme to the Rocky movie played in my head. The deep bathtub depressions in the rocky bottom revealed smallmouth after smallmouth in one of the most amazing mornings I have had in high summer. No dinks, the smallest fish we landed was a chunky 10" - fiesty, fat and healthy. Dave found his way into at least two fish which broke 16" and two more that easly beat 15" In a depression behind a big log in a fast flow I found a football ready to rock-and- roll. A bronze warrior of approximately three pounds bent the light flyrod double and headed downstream in a relentless run with the current. By the time my watch read 1030 we had fished past the half-way point and our tally was easily hitting 6 or 8 good bass each. Dave was flirting with double-digit counts on rockbass, a number he would easliy surpass by the time 1230 came and we exited the river. As the sun climbed higher the fishing got tougher - but still the fish were there and responded to a carefull presentation right on the bottom. They were hanging at the edges of the fast flow, on the tongue-out at the head of the pools and runs. Most of the fish we landed had hard bellies, indicative of a feeding frenzy. We both wondered aloud if the fishing might not have been even better at the height of the storm as the creek was rising! The final pool features a limestone ledge dropping from ankle deep water to better than chest-deep depths. On our last trip to this river I had pulled three smallmouth from this spot by presenting a sculpin imitation on the bottom of the deepest part of the hole, and bringing the fish quickly over the ledge after I had hooked them. I hoped to do the same again. Three rock bass came to my fly (by this time I was "nymphing" with a Skip's Dad fly) and two smalllmouth and another fat rock bass opted for Daves tube. A hung fly on the bottom prompted me to take one step too close to the sunken, and now invisible, ledge and I watched a wry smile play across Dave's face as the cool water came became chin-deep in a heartbeat. Refreshed, wet and satisfied I called for last cast. Final tally is tough to give accurately as neither of us kept a real count. I will estimate that between the two of us we easily hooked, landed and released 25 smallmouth from 10 to 17 or more inches and about twice that in rock bass. It was the finest day of August smallmouth fishing I can recal! Tight lines. Joe C.