Dear Stony Fork,
I’m sorry I’ve neglected to fly-fish on your waters for so long. Has it really been 25 years since I last fished your lovely pools and riffles? Well, this is no way to treat a sister stream of Slate and Cedar runs. It’s no way to regard a state forest draining into Babb and Pine, in northern Pennsylvania.
I have no excuses other than to say that there are many streams about, and there’s so little time to explore them all. No, I hadn’t really forgotten you; I had only wanted to keep things moving forward. I am sorry for your long-held problems– those open fields at upstream Draper that warm your waters prematurely, and that acid leachate entering your lower stretches. But there’s something else, as well, an old grudge, perhaps…
My recent face-to-face was pleasant. I enjoyed your dripping cliffs, your gorge, in early morning with the song of thrush and warbler all about, but damn your water was low! And it’s only the start of summer…
Yeah, I caught a hefty brown trout, 13 inches, on my second casting of a BWO, but that was at a fast pool near the bridge. That fish was probably an artful dodger of the early season worm-brigade. Then upstream– the water was too skinny, and apparently abandoned by the quarry that I love. I may be back some day, dear friend, but life is short.
The Streamwalker * * * * *
Man, I haven’t fished your water since the late 80s, or was it early 90s? And why not? I used to love that stretch from Galeton up to West Pike, but then I started hearing rumors– privatization along your banks, and fewer points of access. I gave up without investigation. Damn it, I am bad.
Where has all the time gone since I knew your waters well? You featured some of the finest dry-fly water in the region. If time is like a river then it holed up in that freakin’ reservoir, that bath tub for the village of Galeton. Then it spilled out over the dam, polluted by warmer temperatures.
Thanks for those few brown trout, even though the fishing was slow. The sky was bright at midday and the water temp a healthy 63, but let’s face it, the action is at day-break now, and in the evening with the hatch and spinner fall. I will return, and soon. I usually keep my word.
The Streamwalker * * * * *
Dear Redwater Creek,
No one really knows about you anymore. A hunter or an angler might discover you as a thin blue line contorted on a topo map reflecting the upper watershed. You and I know better. Your name evokes it– local history. Your brook trout were renowned more than a century ago, even after the timber had been clear-cut and the other trout streams had been ravaged by silt and opened banks.
I’ve been meaning to meet you, woodland brook, to try again for small fish in your shaded flow. I want to see if the natives have survived these crazy times. Our rivertops have just been dunked with three more inches of rain, so maybe now is a good time to come over. A lot of streams have been knocked on their keisters, like a fat man drunk and fallen to the couch.
You’re a small stream but you rock with the best of them. I imagine that you’ve heard a million versions of “Hey Joe” (most famously by Hendrix) but when you hear an Otis Taylor version it’s like going back to Day 1 on a gorgeous planet. No doubt you love Anne Harris and her solo with electric violin.
You listen… and a thousand brook trout blow up through the small pools like a Roman candle. It’s amazing.