With just a few days left on the regular fishing season for trout, I decided I had better visit the Culvert Pool before it was too late. The stream is close to home, high up on the watershed, but for some reason or another, I had yet to fish the pool this year.
The stream’s a favorite of mine and it’s fairly remote, but a lightly traveled roadway skirts the Culvert Pool, so I’m not inclined to describe it with a lot of detail.
Checking on the pool before I suited up, I saw some evidence of the spawn, and knew I’d have to be careful. I walked downstream then reversed direction to the pool, which is probably about 30 feet long from the culvert to the outlet, and 20 feet wide. Having permission to fly-fish at this rivertop location, I began my casting toward the culvert.
Almost immediately I saw a pair of spawners on the gravel at my side, and left them alone. When it’s obvious that wild trout are on a redd, I resist temptation and look elsewhere. I made a few long casts with a beadhead nymph, and though I had a follower or two, the brooks did little more than bump it.
Switching to a dry Black Ant and casting to the lip of the culvert, I had action. Trout after trout slammed the barbless dry fly and came in for inspection and a possible photograph.
I couldn’t believe how many trout inhabited the pool. They had access to the stream above the culvert, as well as to the stream below the outlet, but they seemed to dwell harmoniously in a pool providing them with shelter, cold water, and food.
I captured and released eleven healthy adults, ranging in size from seven to 11 inches, wild with autumn color.
A half hour passed quickly and I was still catching trout (one chub, as well). It was time to quit the pool and return it to peace. I kept my wading to a minimum and wished the trout well. They had survived another fishing season in good form.
With cold weather approaching, it was time to batten down the hatches on the upstate waters (except where special regulations allow continued fishing). It was time for evolution to advance unhindered, for the winter season to declare its intent (oh, give it another month or so, please!).
The pool and I parted company. If I’m lucky in love and the ways of trout, I’ll find myself once more in a warm spring day around the new year’s bend. The sun will be warming up the waters once again, and all will be well with humankind, at least on this rivertop stream.