Lyman Run, A Perfect Balance

Summer and fall were in the Equinox. Clouds and sunshine wrestled for an upper hand above. I drove along Route 6, turned off at Galeton, Pennsylvania and traversed sevenOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA miles of rough graveled road, closed to Thru Traffic.  (Ask not for whom the road is being prepared; it’s not for you or me).

Beyond concerns about the hydro-fracking trade, I saw a canoe with fishermen at the far end of Lyman Lake, just short of where the stream comes in. Lyman Run is a fly-fishing-only water. Its designation as a state “wild brook trout enhancement area” requires that brookies taken on the fly be released unharmed. The run was flowing a bit off-color from a day-before rain. Things were looking good for a first fall day of fishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere was wildness with accessibility (a lightly traveled road lay parallel a short distance away). Here were pools and riffles, log obstructions and undercut banks. Summer’s green foliage was brightening into red and yellow and orange. I bumped into turkeys and saw a mink race across the stream on a fallen tree. I thought of seeing other wild inhabitants of the run, of bobcats, fishers and bears, but that was wishful thinking.

Here the Susquehannock Trail System crossed the valley and connected mountain to OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmountain. I remembered a night many years ago when, upstream in the wilds of Splash Dam Hollow, I spent a miserable night beneath the stars with just a sleeping bag and a cloud of ravenous mosquitoes. Today was far more pleasant: the wild browns and brook trout were eager to nab a bead-head nymph and (especially) an Elkhair Caddis drifted on top.

I had a glass rod with me, just 6-feet long. Designed to cast a 5/6 line, the rod laid out a 5-weight Cortland Sylk with ease. The rod and line seemed wonderful for a mountain stream. I could back-cast with a minimum of hang-ups (oh, there’s always some, but the cursing was controlled and didn’t seem to bother the birds or chipmunks). The roll-casts were direct and effortless.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had a vision of perfect balance here. Equinox, with man and nature, land and water, earth and sky. Illusion perhaps, but good for contemplation. The solitude seemed so flawless that I longed for an angling friend to share it with.

Always interested in the ratio of wild browns to brook trout, I counted fish that came to hand. Four browns and 13 brooks. If not a perfect ratio, each was welcome, nonetheless. They rang a fine hello to autumn.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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12 Responses to Lyman Run, A Perfect Balance

  1. Leigh says:

    Love the colors on those fish. Looks like everyone is dressing for fall.

  2. The colors on the brook trout are amazing! One of my dream trips is a combination backpacking/fly fishing trip up in the Northeast and/or back out to the Rockies. For now, I’m fishing vicariously through your posts!

    • The colors are brightening as we write, Jim, the foliage on the trees, the sides of brook trout as they go to the spawn. It’s great to have such a dream trip in mind. It keeps me going, too.

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  3. Puget Keith says:

    Looks like autumn is a coming to your neck oft the woods.

    • It’s here, Keith, and how are the forests out your way? Lots of conifers, sure, but colors as well?

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      • Bob Stanton says:

        Great post, Walt! Imagine my delight when I opened my inbox to find news of a RR report ’bout Lyman Run. Lyman is another one of the “out east” destinations I’ve always wanted to fish, but thus far haven’t got around to. I’ve got to get it in gear!

      • Bob, Lyman is a lot of fun for the small stream enthusiast. Over the last 25 years I’ve fished it a number of times but usually on the lower end. I want to go higher on it someday. Let me know when you want to make the tour!

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  4. Mark W says:

    This is such a wonderful time of year, thanks for taking me back home

  5. Ken G says:

    Mike Sepelak just put up a post of a tiny little creek and a few fish caught from it. Told him and I’ll tell you, I can’t believe there’s fish living in those little things. I don’t think creek chubs in the little creeks around here compare much.

    • Ken, It’s an amazing thing. A stream can be miniature and non-remarkable at the surface, but as far as wild trout are concerned, if it is cold and clean, has undercut and other structure for shelter, and sufficient food supply, it can harbor large fish. I’ve fished jump-across streams ( literally) that surprised the hell out of me when I caught hefty trout that came out of nowhere.

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