Vince’s Meadow

The heavy rain let up completely by the time I arrived at Letort Spring Creek in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The famous stream’s parking lot, at a meadow near Spring Garden Street, is also located just south of busy Interstate 81. It’s the heart of an idyllic wild spot in an otherwise urban atmosphere.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ninety minutes just isn’t enough time for an outing on this southern PA limestone water. The LeTort is considered one of the toughest wild trout streams to fly-fish anywhere, on par with England’s Test. Ninety minutes is barely enough time to remove your hat at the memorials to Charlie Fox (riverkeeper and author of Rising Trout) and Vince Marinaro (author of A Modern Dry Fly Code), to acknowledge you’re on sacred piscatorial ground. Hell, it’s hardly enough time to study the tiny Blue-winged Olives sailing above the currents (relatively clouded by the rains) and to experiment with a dry fly or a nymph rig.

DSCN4031I rigged up a long leader tippet with a #20 dry fly, for tradition’s sake, if not for an actual hook-up. Nothing doing. Next came a tandem rig with a midge pupa and a tiny Pheasant-Tail. That helped me land a small brown, along with another brief hook-up, my only fish of the day. When I switched to a larger soft-hackle and beadhead Pheasant-Tail, the wild browns simply ignored me. As I said, ninety minutes (en route to metro-DC) isn’t time enough to fish a special place like this.

“The LeTort is a hard task master…” said Vince Marinaro. Indeed. Many anglers from DSCN4034around the states, and even the world, come to pay respects at the stream but then go to fish the nearby Yellow Breeches instead. They go where the fishing is considerably easier and more productive.

“A man is the substance of the things he loves…” wrote Charlie Fox, LeTort master and, along with Marinaro, one of the most famous and revered fly-fishermen since Izaak Walton.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA naturalist or angler or outdoor lover connects with mountain, stream, ocean, desert, or other environment. He or she loves the world that nurtures the soul, and wants to live most fully with particular places. If you walk Vince’s Meadow, or fly-fish its wonderful stream, you too will feel the substance of something reaching out pleasantly in your direction.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSCN4036

 

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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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10 Responses to Vince’s Meadow

  1. You certainly don’t lack for wonderful rivers up there. Also, I think having a memorial at a favorite river or stream might just be the definition of heaven for a fisherman. (Or at least as close as some of us are likely to get!) Great read, Walt.

  2. It’s like they say, So many streams, so little time, Jim, and this one is unique, at least to the eastern regions. The memorials are effective for the visiting angler. As always, my thanks for your support.

  3. Les Kish says:

    To stand in a place that was once graced by the presence of angling notables is most humbling. Nice piece Walt.

  4. Humbled indeed, Les, if not by the presence of the legendary, then by the fish, as well! With thanks…

  5. Alan says:

    Wonderful post Walt.
    I hope to visit there someday.

  6. It’s worth the effort, Alan, and I hope you can experience it.

  7. Bob Stanton says:

    With only ninety minutes at your disposal, you probably didn’t have time to visit the conveniently located Home Depot near the banks of the LeTort, huh? Seriously, were it not for the efforts of a number of organizations, “progress” would have paved over that historic stream a while ago. Have a great time down south, Walt!

    • Bob, Even with my limited time, some damned structure from beyond the woodsy bank kept vying for my attention, like a pop-up advertising on the Web. I’m only surprised that it didn’t have a big neon Home Depot sign or something flashing through the rain, as if to say, “Your LeTort experience is being brought to you by…” Thank god for the preservation efforts of the true heroes here, and I’ll keep you posted, with thanks.

  8. Kenov says:

    Gosh, I miss fishing there. I’ve spent many, many hours on that stretch.

  9. Kenov, I’m kind of a beginner on the stream, and I thought of you and so many others who have had the kind of experience and appreciation for the place that helps to keep it alive and well.

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