The Cedar Run Experience, Part 19

1. It felt like the week’s visit to several brook trout streams was just practice for my reentry to Cedar Run. My last installment to The Cedar Run Experience (#18) was in December 2014, so it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to fly-fish/hike on one of Pennsylvania’s finest.

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I warmed up for Cedar Run by fishing several headwater streams closer to home. Near Splash Dam Hollow I stopped my vehicle to allow a hen woodcock and her short parade of chicks to safely cross. When they all reached the grasses of the roadside, the first chick hopped onto its mother’s back, as if to say, “I’ve had it mom; it’s too darned hot for this!”

It had been a hot day, for sure, but discomfort had been tempered by the sight and sound of birds, and the catch of trout. From the heat of a marshy area where the relatively rare (in the Northeast) orchard oriole came into view, along with its more common relative the Baltimore oriole, I entered the shade and coolness of the forest.

All week the brookies had been hungry and generally eager to take on the surface. The best action came along with lots of sweat and frustration, not in the open sections of the forest, but along the tight avenues of willow tree and alder growth, those fly-snatchers that forced a careful roll cast or a bow shot to the lairs of fish. That’s where the groceries were, and where the trout seemed heavier and more contented.

2. I was ready for Cedar Mountain. Heavy rains had brought the streams up a little and deposited pools of water on the long mountain road, but I was eager to restart my exploration, fishing from mouth to source. I had started on Memorial Day two years ago and now had covered nearly all of the eleven-mile distance.

My strategy had been to fish the run in sequence, one stretch at a time, taking up where I had stopped on a previous visit. Figuratively speaking, I could smell the source and it was sweet, although I probably wouldn’t get there today.

The air was thick with water. The humidity felt heavy enough to slice with a knife. Dark clouds promised rain and maybe even a thunderstorm, but I was there, and I had a purpose.

Wasn’t it the philosopher, Rene Descartes, who said, I fish therefore I am? The stretch between the two small bridges over the stream would prove to me that I was still alive, a bit mad perhaps, but willing to look at the real.

The stream’s not for the faint of heart. It’s narrow and uneven, cradled by a fairly deep ravine, and so rugged with vegetation that I couldn’t imagine fishing it at any other time than in middle spring or in an autumn with plenty of rain.

Parts of the jaunt felt like the mixture of a suicide mission and a holiday in heaven. There were sections that I walked by because they looked like gateways to the underworld, but then there were sweet little pools and cascades that gave proof of their wild brook and brown trout populations.

Near the upper end of this section I found Cedar Run’s highest major tributary, a stream that lent me a brook trout, small and pretty, hued with the darkness of hemlock trees.

There were bugs in the air– yellow stoneflies, grannoms, and graceful March Browns,

Bob's stick caddis

Bob’s stick caddis

and the trout were eager to rise. I lost several imitations to unyielding branches, and the storm-threat put an early end to the adventure, but overall it was good.

Later, on studying the maps, I realized that I could probably fish another half mile of stream above the highest bridge, so it wasn’t quite time to light up the celebratory Curivari or to bust open a Southern Tier IPA, but one final visit would do it.

3. I made a short celebration of my nearly completed walk by driving down to big Pine Creek and joining in on the catch of German brown trout stocked by Slate Run’s Orvis shop and its “Brown Trout Club.”

These fish, nicely colored (for hatchery trout), were rather large and rising everywhere, feeding just below the surface. They were challenging, and selective in their take.

I was lucky to catch a few by casting a dry fly as an indicator for a couple of trailing emerger patterns. The trout wanted the emergent March Brown, and that was it. One fish that broke off my entire rig looked to be a 20-incher, easily.

My best trout was a brown of maybe 17 inches, followed by a leaping rainbow a couple inches shorter.

Pine Creek is the biggest “creek” in the USA, a sizeable river here at Slate Run, and it offered me a large, expansive way to kick back and resettle in the norm.

almost time

almost time

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The Rivertop Construction Company

To seize the time, a tranquil evening in early May, I took a walk to the beaver ponds DSCN6373to see all I could see.

I took a path that was less than a path, a rough walk downhill from the woods, and even before I got to the ponds, I heard and saw the season’s first Baltimore oriole. I heard the liquid fluting from the treetops then saw the striking black and orange plumage, bringing a sense of tropics to this summer home.

DSCN6384A beaver swam the reservoir behind its dam. It hauled yet another well-chewed pole. The beavers change the landscape here; they shake up the riverine environment; they change the lifestyles of a watery domain.

A kingfisher dove in for its fast food; the deer stopped to drink; the shadbush bloomed with snowy petals from the streambank to the top of distant hills.

I paused and sat on a daffodil terrace above the pond. Like the beaver colony, I was DSCN6376reconstructing my world season by season, living off the water, watching the wild, renewing my life’s contract through observation and through writing.

Salamanders floated in the upper layers of the pond, their legs dangling at their sides like those of children on a raft. Beavers worked the bottom layers, building a world as if here to stay. The poplars on the higher ground had dropped one by one, their bases chipped away by the teeth of night.

DSCN6360I imagined the American grannom, genus Brachycentrus, the “Mother’s Day caddis,” hatching on the trout streams now.

The moth-like insects live among runs and riffles, the larvae hatching from small square houses built from plants. The immatures swim downstream, a rappelling motion whereby a silken line anchors them to a rock while holding in the current, one stretch at a time.

Here’s how I tie the Grannom wet:DSCN6345

Hook: Wet fly #12-16.

Tag: Lime-colored thread.

Body: Peacock herl.

Soft hackle: Starling or English grouse.

I climbed my way back up the hill, grabbing a sapling here, a downed poplar branch there, imagining a rappelling motion while reentering the woods.

DSCN6391The next day I would check the river for a hatch of Hendrickson mayflies and the Mother’s Day caddis. If I’d see them and the trout were rising, I’d have one more reason to thank Mother Earth.

Even here in the beavers’ realm, I was plotting my next move with trout. For better or worse, I’ve given up a lot to build my anchor line and hitch it to the streams.

As John Steinbeck said, “It’s always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses, has it coming.”

The next day I would fish the upper Oswayo, the place of wild trout, though I would see no fish there, and no hatches. Going downstream, however, to the place where stocked and wild trout live together, I’d find some action…

Growing tired of pitting “intelligence against the fish” by casting tandem caddis flies and getting no reaction, I would change my tactics. Rather than risk fishing for stockers and losing with a catch of standard trout, I decided to cast for the “big ones” in the deeper holes by drifting a sunken streamer.

So, duck and cover! I’ve got it coming! Hide out in the twilight woods.

I would see the flash of a trout and set the hook. Weight! Energy! Without ceremony, I’d horse the rainbow upstream, away from the logs and faster water. In the net I’d find a trout measurement of nearly 18 inches.

Okay, I heard the barred owls calling. What were they saying? I heard the first woodthrush carolling. Ah, that’s better!

Another half dozen trout, brook and brown and rainbow, would come to hand there in the “Oz” before I’d quit. The migrating warblers would be common, and the wood anemone would star the bank.

Who said I’ve got it coming?

Not yet, not yet. And the catbird’s mellow squawking…

Brother, I made it home.DSCN6403DSCN6374

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A Trout Lily Was There

I spent a day in the hospital. For two days prior and two days following, I drank from the clear streams and rivers of my life, and they made me well. A trout lily was there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trout Unlimited and representatives from the Youth of America gathered on the banks of a tributary to the upper Genesee. We planted more than a thousand trees, small willows, pine, sycamore, and oak. A trout lily was there.

I fly-fished on the upper Allegheny, catching and releasing wild brooks and browns and stocked rainbow trout. The water temperature climbed to 52 degrees; the Quill Gordons and the first Hendrickson mayflies appeared. A trout lily was there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI swung on over to the Pine Creek watershed, the third river system in my Three River Rise… I walked the old railroad grade. A camper told me of the great black bear that had ambled along the creek the previous night, passing by their campfire in the moonlight. And this morning, of course, a trout lily was there.

On a feeder stream I caught brookie after brookie on a Hare’s Ear nymph, getting my fix of the wild at Splash Dam Hollow. Ah, the blossoms with their leaves like the back of a fish! A trout lily was there.

DSCN6371I drove down to the canyon, rigging up three wet flies like the oldtimers did. I’m the oldtimer now, and it works, sort of– Muddler for the point fly, a Hare’s Ear and a Green-Ass McGee (an obscure local pattern once popular on Pine) for droppers.

With a long rod, it seemed more like casting for steelhead than for brooks– across and down through the deep wide riffle…

And you bet, somewhere near the bank, a trout lily was there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Walking the Runs

1. Around here we call them “runs”– the small streams tumbling down the wooded OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA slopes to the river valleys (particularly on the Pennsylvania side of the rivertop region). Nearly all of them interest me, especially those whose habitats include the lives of wild trout.

To get some first-hand knowledge of the many streams and rivers in my region, I walk and try to fly-fish as many as possible. It’s work, but it’s so pleasurable that when I start to fantasize about getting paid for doing it I have to pinch myself with the reminder that I live on Earth and not in some Beulah Land or Blessed Abode of the Eternal Trout.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI walk the runs each fishing season in order to know the territory. That is, I try to know it. When I start to think I’m getting good at knowing the streams and land forms, I rewalk the runs and slowly realize I don’t really know that much about them yet.

One thing that I’ve learned through my repetitive walks and fishing excursions is that the face of nature is forever changing its dimensions and textures. The change is slow in some locations and faster in others, but “you never step in the same stream twice.”

2. This past weekend I sampled seven runs in PA and, from the standpoint of fishing, it was pretty much a bust. The nights had been cold and the daytime water temps never climbed above the low 40s. There was little hatch activity, although I saw some Blue Quills and Quill Gordons coming off of Cedar Run.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The outings started on a good note with a Slate Run Sportsmen’s clean-up of the Slate Run Road. In short order I encountered a small black bear and saw a bald eagle or two. Trillium flowers were blossoming on the wooded slopes, and I even managed to catch a couple of brookies on a headwater stream.

For the most part, though, I went fishless, as did several other fly-fishermen I spoke with. The rivertops might have smelled a bit like Skunk Town here, but wait… I was getting reacquainted with the territory. I was getting another look at its plants and animals and geologic formations, even chatting with a person or two who was knowledgeable about the place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWalking the runs in search for trout is a good way to get a handle on the sense of place. It’s not the only way, of course, and on a pleasant weekend here you might see lots of folks involved with other ways of getting it– by hiking, biking, bird-watching, getting lost on backcountry roads, or floating a canoe or kayak through the Pine Creek canyon.

I enjoy the brooks and mountain streams because they’re beautiful and intimate. They’re small, and I like thinking small– especially when a small thing like a stream includes the possibility of bigness, the chance to find an ocean of significance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I’m walking or fishing along a run, it’s possible that everything outside of this small place will fall away… Goodbye news of the world. Farewell, financial woes. See ya later, dear friends and screwball enemies… For the purity of the moment, for its sheer simplicity, I’ve got something that’s almost sacred. If the stream could talk, it just might tell me something about who I am and where I’m headed.

So you cast a line in the quiet company of streams…

The waters of earth move systematically. The brook trout gets connected to the wood duck that’s connected to the forest that’s connected to the trout lily blossoming underneath. There’s distance here, but the place is also close and intimate.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3.  At a time like this the streams are typically flowing at their annual peak. They carry off the snows of winter, and the angler, too, breaks the shuck of ice encasing his soul. The underwater nymphs begin to shed their exoskeletons and emerge with wings at the surface of the stream. Awakened trout are hungry and they rise to the occasion. This may sound like perfection, but perfection is a state of mind, a step or two behind the rolling wheels of evolution.

Speaking of perfection, native brook trout race from rock and log cover as you approach along the bank. They are small fish and they zigzag through the clear pools in dread of what could strike them from above.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe smallness of their race is perfect and it saves enough of them from predation. They’ll survive, at least for now. If we introduce a large fish here, a big rainbow or a hatchery brown, it won’t live for long. Predation will remove whatever doesn’t fit. To see a small native, though, held briefly in the palm of your hand above a small run in the mountains is about as close to perfection as you’ll get.

Slate and Cedar runs are well-known streams, protected waters, wild and sometimes difficult to access. They get fished by a lot by folks who, for the most part, look after them, so I’m not afraid to mention them by name. It’s the lesser knowns, the fragile ones, the scenic streams that are good to fish, that I’m reluctant to mention by name.

I won’t mention them specifically but I’ll encourage anyone who’s interested to go out there and explore. It’s a good thing to learn about new places on your own and to walk the runs if you’re able.

The personal journey is important. To allow ourselves to participate in the push and pull of the seasons is a fun experience and it helps us to accomplish something of significance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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More Than Fish, Alone

Back in the day when I read poetry to the public and published lots of stuff in magazines and in books, I had a small but certain following of people who, for the most part, haven’t followed my transition over to this blog. I’m not happy about the fact but, honestly, I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA don’t regret my moves from pure poetry to personal narrative because I’m doing what I enjoy and I’ve made a lot of new friends and found appreciative readers here.

Some of my earlier readers balked at coming over to the blog because (so they’ve said)…”I don’t fish.” Well, to each his own. As you folks know, fish are important in countless ways, but at Rivertop Rambles, there’s more to the sandwich, so to speak, than fish alone.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the opening day of northern Pennsylvania’s trout season, I resorted to my personal tradition of visiting the headwaters of the Genesee River, wetting a line in each of its three branches.

The early morning weather was already beautiful as I drove past fishermen knotted together near the bridges and stocking points. For the most part, I was headed to higher ground, to the smaller, colder waters where the wild fish hopefully were thriving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUsually I don’t catch many trout on the East Branch (aka the main stem of the Genesee), and I didn’t catch one there on this occasion, but I found the visit interesting nonetheless. I like the “feel” of the river’s farmland, now retired and reverting into forestland. I like the fact that I got an electrifying jolt there from a trout living in a log-jam.

I had worked an old streamer (a gift from a tree along the upper Cedar Run) into the log-jam after deciding to use it even though its hook was a little dull and rusted. The trout, a large wild fish or possibly a hold-over that had traveled upstream, struck the weighted fly and held on long enough to let me see its broad and colorful side…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The natural world is full of mystery and surprises. If we’re caught sleeping or are simply unprepared, we’ll miss out on some of that. If our senses are dulled like my streamer’s hook, we’ll probably lose that big fish of life, and there’ll be no one to blame but ourselves.

I typically do my best Genesee River fishing on the West Branch. I covered several sections of it late on opening day, but the slow action was almost anticlimactic. I did manage to bring in and release one hefty brown, but only after a deliberate change of strategy.

Casting a streamer across the water and allowing it to drift downstream, I was getting OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAchases from trout that never connected. I tried different ways to vary the drift at different levels of the stream but nothing was working. As soon as I changed my course, however, from a downstream walk to an upstream wade and by casting at an angle toward the head of pools, I started to see the light.

That’s the fun of it, of course. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on one aspect of the fishing game, the picture changes and you’ve got a new puzzle to unscramble.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the start of the year I set up a short list of angling challenges to consider for the months to follow, and on opening day in northern Pennsylvania, I got around to completing one of those personal challenges…

I’d wanted to fly-fish on the Triple Divide, itself. The Triple Divide is the only triple watershed divide in the eastern half of the U.S., a major hilltop where three great river systems have a singular point of origin. It’s the place near Gold, PA where the Allegheny River starts its flow to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, where Pine Creek has its source and gathers steam for its journey to the West Branch Susquehanna and the Chesapeake Bay, and finally, where the Genesee River starts its northward flow through New York to Lake Ontario and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was familiar with fishing the divide a few miles downstream on all the rivers, but I’d never wet a line at the actual summit. I’ve wanted to fish the big divide for its native brook trout but the land is posted and its Genesee River (the Middle Branch) is tiny– by which I mean, it’s three or four feet wide and, in places, is impounded by beaver dams and crazy avenues of alder growth.

But I got lucky. I received an invitation to fish on private property and I finally caught some brook trout at the site, a place where the Genesee River is born on a wooded slope, not far from the source of two other rivers that just happen to be favorite trout streams in my world.

Oh, the fishing there was tough– I had to stalk on my knees and utilize bow-and-arrow OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcasts, along with dapping and underhand swings. And yet the challenge had an aspect of sublimity, as well. The owners had provided a park-like character to a section of the stream, with a mowed path and log bridges for convenient crossings. I was lucky, and quite thankful, too.

“Geez,” said another angler later in the day when I told him where I fished. “That’s a whole ‘nother world in there, and no way in hell would I want to do it.”

I understand. It’s all about our attitudes and relationship to nature, how we see ourselves in the world. I enjoy not fitting in well with the norms, but I like the sense of natural community, the place where human beings, bird and tree, and trout and stream all blend together in a lively configuration.

Once again, it’s Earth Day (or close to it) all around the globe. It’s about fish, of course– and a whole lot more, as well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

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Marking the Territory: Canadice Lake

It seems that over the past few years I’ve made an annual, half-hearted attempt to catch a lake trout with an artificial fly, something I’ve yet to accomplish with success. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s not that lakers are particularly difficult to take with a fly, it’s just that… I’m not a lake fisherman, I’m a stream and river guy, a fish out water when I’m faced with miles of stuff that stays in place and doesn’t flow anywhere. And let’s not talk about my timing for lake trout adventures, or the skill level required to hook one of these North American chars.

It was a beautiful day, and that’s what counts… For upstate New York, it was a first truly spring day, with sunshine, still air, and temperature climbing into the 60s. Good for lake trout fishing, maybe.

I wanted some new angling territory, so I drove to Canadice Lake, my favorite of the Finger Lakes, a cold glacially-toned water that, for some reason, I’ve never fished before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was marking new ground, perhaps– leaving a boot track on the wild eastern shore, learning something about this place, putting something of my essence on the lake (okay, like a cat or a dog lifting a tail or a leg), an action that says, “I was here. I’m probably harmless but I’m letting you know, nonetheless.”

All this makes me think of our beloved family pet of 13 years, Mustache the Kat, who died the other day and was laid to rest on our hill beside Brook the Dogg.

Mustache was an indoor/outdoor animal with human-like characteristics given to him by those whose lives he enriched. Mustache loved to mark his territory.

For instance, one time I was standing with him on our driveway when we saw a black bear ambling toward us from a distant bend in the road. Taking heed, Mustache lowered himself defensively. With head pointed and with measured steps, he growled as if to say, “I’ll take care of this; you stay here.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“No!” I commanded. “Mustache, get OVER here!” I felt like telling him something else… I might be stupid and only human, but I wasn’t born yesterday, damnit. I grabbed him about the same time that the bear finally saw us and no doubt felt intimidated by a two-legged being and a miniature lion.

Whereas our cat marked his territory with defiance toward a bear, I looked at the lovely Canadice Lake and faced the spectacle of Time, of Chronos, the great creator and devourer. Time had a way about himself, as if to say, enjoy this scene fully, my friend; this lake is wild as a bear and it’s alive, like you, but only for a while.

Canadice is the smallest of New York’s eleven Finger Lakes, with a shoreline of about seven miles, an area of 649 acres and a maximum depth of 83 feet. It’s the highest of the lakes in elevation, and it’s the wildest and remotest of all the Finger Lakes, despite being only 30-35 miles south of urban Rochester. Along with neighboring Hemlock Lake,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Canadice serves the water needs of Rochester and, thus, is protected on state forest lands.

I had noticed that ice still covered the shallow north end. While standing in the lake near a canoe launch site on the eastern shore, I felt the cold water pressing tightly at my breathable waders. It was quiet here: no camps on the lake, no boats, no human voices other than that of a hiker or two traversing the trail on the west side of the water, half a mile away.

A gull screeched and a pileated woodpecker chortled from the pine-studded forest on the western hills, but that was it. If I hadn’t known otherwise, I could’ve been casting on a pristine lake in the Adirondacks.

When an angler takes the time to detail a description like this, you can figure that the fishing was probably crap. And it was today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo brown, rainbow or vaunted lake trout came to the streamers that I played on a stout leader and a sinking line. It was still too cold in the lake and too peaceful in this lovely valley for success. At least that’s how I saw it then.

The lakers come close to shore in the early spring and in the fall when it’s spawning time. They are wild fish here in Canadice, and unless I get a float-tube or some other naval device, they probably won’t see me again till… next year?

The enjoyment that I got from this visit to the lake was my “marking” of the territory. I figure that the place is mine to return to when the next small window of opportunity presents itself.

With that, I’ll sound one final note about our old cat and his territory, and the red fox…

DSCN1815A fox had walked up from the creek near the house and was crossing the road, but he got noticed by our feline guardian.

I’d been mowing the lawn at the time but stopped the motor when I saw a pickup truck come to a halt nearby. The driver, window down, was laughing. I turned to see a fox running up the road then stopping to turn its head. Whoa, the cat was still in full pursuit! The fox bolted across the yard, and Mustache pulled up near the truck where the driver sat amused and shaking his head…

All I could do, I guess, was to call the cat over, scratch his ears, and get back to mowing– one of the ways I feed the great Creator, the Devourer whose name is Time, and try to slow down his advance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Shenandoah Streams Revisited

[In the previous post I reflected on the first three days of a recent visit to Shenandoah National Park. In this post I’ll summarize experiences of my subsequent and final days OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA of hiking and fishing in Virginia’s park.]

Day 4: Richard and I revisited the North Fork Moormans for a while. I fished several of my favorite pools inside the national park and did well casting a bead-head nymph. Of the half dozen trout that acknowledged my attempts, the largest hit the 11-inch mark, which is pretty hefty for a stream like this. The trout aren’t numerous, and the lack of little ones is disconcerting (where are the young-of-the-year?), but the native fish that said hello to me had size.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADay 5: Returned to the Rapidan today, an excellent visit.

The sky was overcast and hung with mist and light showers. While the air temperature climbed into the 70s, the river temperature nosed into the lower 50s.

I didn’t see another human till the afternoon, and then only a few hikers and one other fly-fisher. I fished the lower Rapidan inside the park, changing my approach from anOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA attempt to cover new ground to slowing down and simply enjoying whatever pools and riffles were in front of me.

Again, bloodroot flowers adorned the trail edges, and the shrill piercing notes of the tail-wagging Louisiana waterthrush accompanied my efforts along the stream.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe angling was slow at first– a brookie here and there, falling to a Hare’s Ear and Black Stonefly nymph, and then returning to the water unharmed. Around noon, however, I began to notice the first mayflies hatching, to be imitated with the Blue Quill and Quill Gordon dry fly patterns, and the fun began.

I wandered up the Staunton River, a Rapidan tributary, a wild and rocky stream that yielded a couple of tiny brook trout on a Rio Grande King (attractor pattern), but the Rapidan itself was where the catch was hot.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fish rose eagerly to a Quill Gordon, size 14. My only question was, “Did the river hold any trout larger than, say, nine inches long?”

Experimenting with various river locales, I finally answered in the affirmative.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACasting from one precarious spot above some boulders into a deep and turbulent hole, I found the trout rising/slashing at the dry fly on cast after cast.

It wasn’t easy landing them above the rocks, where I had to work them through a watery chute, but I fooled several fish as good as any from the Moormans.

I felt pleasantly exhausted as I hiked out of the park in the evening, ready to battle the holiday traffic of urban Charlottesville.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How good was the fishing in terms of numbers caught/released? If each wild brookie was an Easter egg, some youngsters might find a couple dozen of them hidden among the garden stones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADay 6: I wasn’t going to surpass the previous day’s angling mark, so I was happy to hang up the rod, and hit the trail with friends and family. You know, going out to the southern breweries, wineries, and barbecue joints.

A perfect complement to spring days on the stream.

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