Simply Trout Fishing

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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe 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!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter 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 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcomfortable 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.

After a couple of hours fishing, I was done. It was time to rejoin the other world. I know I could have done worse.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


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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8 Responses to Simply Trout Fishing

  1. Ken G says:

    Every day for a good three weeks now we’ve had that kind of weather where it just doesn’t know what it wants to do. I go out for a walk expecting to bask in some fall sunshine, only to have clouds roll in for the next two hours. I find it funny to look at the pictures on yours and some other blogs. I expect the surroundings to be flat like around here and I find myself staring at the pictures with those things in the background of the creeks. I need to live in a place with hills.

  2. Ah, the hills, Ken. I’d have a tough time living without them, though I’ve tried. I think it has to do with what we’ve grown up with and grown accustomed to. I roamed the hills when I was a kid. Then in S. Dakota I tried unsuccessfully to live without them. Didn’t work, but then that’s me. The flatlands have their own appeal, but the hills and mountains are my calling.

    • Bob Stanton says:

      Amen, brother. I like vertical landscapes. About 25 years ago I tried living in south Florida. Among other problems with the Sunshine State is the fact that about the highest altitude you can gain is the overpass on the interstate. Just wasn’t for this country boy, though on the other hand, there were some opportunities I didn’t take advantage of, like checking out the Everglades.

  3. Bob,
    I suppose one could also find some height at DisneyWorld, but for me, FL means the Everglades,which I’d love to visit. In winter. And some real countryside, with real country folk, before they too get swallowed up by white migrants from the North.

    • Bob Stanton says:

      Ha ha, yes, I’ll bet the majority of currently “usable” land in Fla. is parcelled off, at least in the southern part of the state. Do you think if Horace Greeley were alive today, he’d say “Go South, retirees!” ? And shrinking Everglades aside, I’d like to explore the areas to the north (Okeefenokee) and the panhandle, where Jim of Out Doors Down South dwells.

  4. Bob, I think Horace would be smart enough not to say that, if he was less than 55. And yeah, by “Everglades,” I mean all the cool winter swamplands and what remains of the Back 40 ala Out Doors Down South. I wish we could stock up on “Southern Tier” and go exploring the hinterlands before it disappears!

  5. Alan says:

    Simplicity now that’s the way to go.

  6. Alan, Maybe in my case it’s something like, simple does as simple IS??

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