Old Friends Revisited

Sometimes it can seem that creeks, once known but now rarely seen, are like old friends neglected or forgotten. Sometimes you come to the realization that you must get OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA reacquainted… 

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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…

You skunked me on my first couple of visits in middle spring! Remember that?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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  *     *     *     *     *

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADear Upper Pine Near Galeton,

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI must have gone through the ringer, myself… but hey, my recent visit on the Solstice was a nice return.

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 DSCN4477thin 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.DSCN4465

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.

For clarity,

The Streamwalker.DSCN4496







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 Old Friends Revisited

  1. Bob Stanton says:

    Jilted lovers all, I’m sure they swooned at your return. Only to have you leave again, promising to return soon. A timeless tale, eh?

  2. Bob Stanton says:

    And the video…wow!

  3. Don’t discount the possibility that they’ve gotten over you by now. Time and tide, they say, wait for no man. Maybe that’s true of trout streams as well.

    • You’re right, Jim, time and trout streams wait for no man, and my name isn’t NoMan, that’s for sure. I had to take the tongue-in-cheek approach to these old friends, imagining a kind-of-one-on-one.

  4. Alan says:

    Better late than never…..hello friend.

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