The following are my Top 10 fly-fishing highlights for a four-day holiday weekend. They range far and wide through my fields of interest. Fishing, for sure, but also solitude and family fun, commitment to ideals as well as simple looning about. Any one of these highlights could have been my Number 1 the moment it occurred. Events are ordered sequentially, but stop short of favoritism. Mind cannot impose a rigid ordering of events and still be fair to nature. That said, I hope you, too, had a string of highlights as enjoyable, or more.
*Guided fifth-grade students in the planting of small commemorative flags at headstones of the Veterans Administration Cemetary at Bath, New York. We planted thousands of the little flags. The kids gave thanks to those who served.
*Spent two hours on the home stream watching Grannom caddis hatching over brook trout. Caught and released 23 of the rising square-tails before quitting time. The big one got away, of course, a colorful 10-incher that suggested an alternative title for this post, “The Greenwood Getaway.” I fished from waterfalls #5 up through falls #10. It was great to see that, with all the water coming through, the brookies were distributed in the pockets, riffles, and minor pools, and not just in the plunge-pool of each waterfall .
*Helped the Slate Run Sportsmen pick up trash along the Slate Run Road. Found the beautiful Yellow Lady’s Slipper in blossom there and felt sorry that it had to share space with discarded cans of Bud Lite. Couldn’t believe that, with all my years in the woods, I’d never seen this wildflower before today.
*Pine Creek and its tributaries were too full for comfortable wading but I fished a little feeder stream and a caught a sizeable brook trout on a dry. Downstream on the Manor Fork, I got the big surprise. Not a brook trout but a wild brown of immense proportion. Held the brown in the deep hole for half a minute before the stonefly nymph pulled out. In retrospect, I should’ve let the big guy run down to the rushing water. I would have had a better shot at holding him.
*Took time to smell the dew-appointed lilac blooms when the sun first touched the valley.
*Finally finished a rereading of “North With the Spring,” by Edwin Way Teale. Superb account of a season spent traveling south to north. Now ready to begin preparing my own book, “River’s Edge,” for a reprint by Wood Thrush Books.
*The weather, laced up in the fluttering of tiger swallowtails, the belling of orioles, and the fragrance of assorted flowers, was our friend.
*Had a great visit from our son, Brent, along with Catherine R. We said goodbye to them at Ole Bull State Park on Kettle Creek in Potter County, PA. Ate some homemade quiche and strawberry shortcake, along with smuggled micro-brew, on a wooden table at the sparkling stream. The Kettle, along with other Northern Tier streams, was running high from recent rains, and the fly-fishing suffered when, typically, it’s terrific at this time of year. Nonetheless, I had the Founders’ Rod– equipped with a new weight-forward #6 fly line. Although my casts were long and on the mark, the trout did not appreciate them.
*Fished a quarter-mile of private water on the high Oswayo Creek. This stream is a beauty, partly meadow stream and partly mountain water. It’s the possible site of a first bald eagle nest in Potter County. Perfect wild trout water but, oddly enough, I saw no sign of hatch or trout activity this afternoon. Some great fish live in those deep meadow holes, but they, like us, were on some kind of holiday.