Of Science, Poetry, and Adventure

The Pond

Picking blackberries on my walk uphill, I came to the secret pond, the kind that everyone should have and never talk about– except as poetry. I loaded the short fly rod with a line, a leader, and an artificial fly. The fly, a poor imitation of what could have been the first pattern tied for trout (by Greeks in the days of Roman emperors) seemed to cross the ocean as it headed toward the reeds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Surrounded by woods at my secret pond, I felt like a mongrel of an angler… Partly pragmatic, partly poetic, and partly … nuts! Like anyone off the track and traveling. Excited, but for what– a possible sunfish, maybe a bass? Like any mixed-up soul who’s got an eye for science and a nose for nature’s mystery.

I caught a red-eared sunfish, that was it. Perhaps no one else was home. That sunfish must have sensed adventure– pulled in like a visitor from an asteroid in Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince.”  Frozen for a moment, cradled in my hand. And there it went– still inside its body– with a word of warning for the bream among the reeds.


Normally I fish the streams and rivers but I took a fly rod to the lake. The reservoir is unusual for the state– cold and deep, with trout and other species. I don’t like the fact that a dam has compromised a valley and a wonderful stream for trout, but the reservoir is aged, and trout can be caught from shore.

I could have used some practical advice on how to fish this lake, or perhaps prepared myself to give some practical advice to others planning a visit, but it was quiet here. The trout had gone to the depths. A Woolly Bugger cast 50 feet from the woods picked up a bass and a sunnie or two.

Preparing to leave, I put away the flies. A splash came from the surface near the dam. A second splash had me digging for a popper with rubber legs. Science and poetry matedDSCN5127 like dragonflies above the lake, and sunfish slammed the popper.

The Ocean 

It all ends here, eventually, where everything begins. The place where our breathing goes. In water that was here before. In water that stays long after.DSCN5122DSCN5116DSCN5096DSCN5085DSCN5108

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!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Of Science, Poetry, and Adventure

  1. Mike says:

    Just beautiful, Walt.

  2. Thank you, Mike. Am glad to have you as a reader.

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    Nice, Walt. Great pics too – esp. like the lake photo, land, water, and sky all in close proximity. A meeting of elements.

  4. leigh says:

    Sounds like a great day with a local adventure. When you’re down my way I’ll show you a couple of relatively hidden gems that offer eager bass and bream.

  5. Brent says:

    I miss the little red efts crawling around near the marshy areas in the back yard. Is that Lyman Lake by any chance?

  6. Mary says:

    Beautiful – love the meeting of water,sky, and trees. Such harmony.

  7. That’s one of my favorite flies. I’ve caught some large panfish and bass on it.

    • I’m glad I thought to use that popper, Kevin. Generally I don’t fish the ponds and lakes so I tend not to think of old rubberlegs, or whatever it’s called, but it surely seemed effective with the bluegills. It was fun to cast.

  8. loydtruss says:

    I am really impressed with waters like this especially since it has trout. It gives you the best of both species; did I notice a Boogle Bug as your popper? Thanks for sharing

  9. Ah yes, that’s a Boogle Bug. I can’t remember where or how I got a couple of them, but the darn thing is effective on summer bass and sunfish. As for the water, it does have year-around trout fishing, which is especially good in spring and fall. And thanks, as always, for reading and responding!

  10. Alan says:

    That little spotted fellow is to be adored.

  11. Alan, the little spotted newt got nervous when I stopped to take a closer look. I told him to take it easy, all I wanted was a photograph. I think he mumbled something about “damn tourists” as he scuttled from the path.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.