After a disappointing visit to a Finger Lakes tributary in search of larger brown trout and landlocked salmon, I returned home and got back to the basics of headwaters fishing. Yes, the weather was just as cold and damp and somber here as it was up north, but in rivertop country I felt comfortable nonetheless. Although the streams were low and generally clear (as were the lake tribs), a few fish were noticeable and I felt like I was checking up on old friends.
For a while I was done with trying to decide which big-name water to revisit. There was no time now for dithering. I would fly-fish near home and limit my decisions to matters such as choosing which fly rod to use, a glass wand or bamboo.
I was at the mercy of the elements. Arriving at Dwight Creek for some brook trout fishing, I was greeted by an unexpected shower of snow and rain. Caught without protective clothing, I opted to drive downriver to the Allegheny’s Delayed Harvest section where, hopefully, I’d find that the rain and snow were left behind.
They were, at least for a while. And when the sun appeared for a minute or two, I thought I’d gone to heaven.
I suited up, and assembled the glass rod with its fly attachment. I waded carefully into the river. Everything was simple till a large rainbow spun out from a riffle and chased the fly. I missed the strike. The Allegheny, despite being low and narrow in this headwater location, has plenty of bank structure for trout, and the big fish disappeared beneath a roof. Its tail protruded from the overhang, as if from a doorway to the structure. If the tail could have talked, it would’ve said, “Get lost!”
After that initial flare of action, everything slowed to a relaxing pace. Perhaps too relaxing, but I found enjoyment in the simple act of wading along and roll-casting with a sweet old 5-weight rod. Eventually I caught a small wild brown and a couple of rainbows. At a deep river hole in the woods, I hooked and lost a good one– perhaps a 17-inch rainbow– because the timing of my set was off. Had I been watching the strike indicator, rather than daydreaming, I might have had a decent introduction to the fish, before letting it return to its chosen haunts.
This was Halloween weather– dark, somber, blustery, damp, and chill. More comfortable near home, perhaps, than on some distant water with a spookier atmosphere. When the trout were not cooperative, I found myself questioning my sanity for being out and casting on a day like this. But I was feeding my addiction to the wild and, in an odd way, it was good.