New Year’s, Fore and Aft

With a little help from a Roman god named Janus, I can glance backward at the year and then hope to look ahead, as well. I’ll be able to state that my year outdoors and on the DSCN5691 water went pretty well…

I fished a total of 103 days– not bad for a guy as old as Janus and still working a full-time job. The northern winter, long and brutal, was still kind enough to allow me to catch some splendid brown trout on a spring creek in New York.

W. M., @ Ausable

W. M., @ Ausable

In March I was privileged to adopt the Slate Run Sportsmen’s “Founders’ Rod” for a year’s duration. I accepted the Heddon 35 Peerless with a promise to record my experiences with the bamboo wand and then report on such when I passed the rod off to another member in the following March.

I finally got some close views of a bobcat and a fisher ( great weasel, not ubiquitous flyrodder); and the Cryder Creek eagles were a common sight, adding to richness of the year’s experiences.

In spring and autumn I was able to immerse myself in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains where the brook trout fishing was remarkable. Summer found me casting in the DSCN5692Adirondacks on the West Branch Ausable, meeting up with Walt McLaughlin who, several months later, was largely responsible for reprinting my book, River’s Edge. 

The year wasn’t all a picnic, that’s for sure, but Janus, with his views from atop the holy mount, tends to focus on highlights, remember, so let us hear him out…

RSCN4554I got lucky with an excellent steelhead late in April, and in fall got beat up by a ton of fair-hooked salmon near Ontario. In summer I learned a little more about the night-fishing game from my partner in Trutta madness, Tim D.

And the brook trout fishing… How could I forget the superfine headwaters near my home and the Triple Divide? While anglers complained about the lousy spring fishing on the larger waters, rivertop natives eagerly darted left and right for beadhead nymphs or rose to an Adams or a Wulff.

Soon it was the Summer of the Small Stream in north-central Pennsylvania, and I can only hope for something similar in 2015. If we’re lucky, those friends of Janus, the gods and goddesses of fair weather and sufficient rainfall, will oblige…DSCN5462

The Cedar Run Experience came very close to fruition. I fished a good eight miles of the run this year, and with a mile or so of rivertop remaining to be walked in spring, it’s looking very nice.

And so Janus, seeing the past and future all at once, now hints at what’s to come…

My Top 10 Fishing/Exploration Goals for 2015, or my “Climbing the Runs” project for the year, are listed, in no particular order of importance. If anyone wants to join me for any of these, just holler. I’m always open for 1 or 2 crazy flyfishers or hikers for company, if you’re interested…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1/ Finish the Cedar Run Experience, with possible sidestream visitations at Fahneystock, Frying Pan, and Slide Run Draft.

2/ Blue Run, a Long Run, Pine Creek feeder stream near Gaines, PA.

3/ Windfall Run, a tributary of Cross Fork Creek in the Kettle Creek watershed.

4/ Cushman Run and Apple Tree Branch, in the Slate Run headwaters.

5/ Rock Run, the Hawk Run headwaters of this Lycoming Creek feeder.

6/ Four Mile Run, and Left Branch, in the Pine Creek Canyon, PA.

7/ Middle Branch Genesee River, headwaters at Gold, PA (Scheduled for April).

8/ Pine Creek Canyon at Owassie Rapids (3-Fly wets, in April).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

9/ Miller Run, a Pine Creek tributary below Slate Run.

10/ Rapidan and Rose rivers in VA, the week of Easter.

Okay, in 2014, Rivertop Rambles got some 24,000 views from 67 countries across the globe. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m thankful that you, and so many others, have been here to read my nickel’s worth and are (hopefully) considering a return. Drop me a Like or, better yet, a Comment when you’re able. Your support is, and has been, much appreciated.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

And let’s close the book with an instrumental classic by John Fahey (1964)…





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.

16 Responses to New Year’s, Fore and Aft

  1. Excellent blog with great music as well. thanks for everything this year. And may it all be better next year. Jack W.

  2. Thanks for your support, Jack. Keep in touch, and happy trails on land and water in the upcoming year.

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    Adieu 2014, thanks for the memories, thank you for loved ones and friends both old and new, and thanks for the opportunity to enjoy all these. Here’s to the year of ’15 and more adventures to pursue. And here’s to another year of Rivertop Rambles!

    • Thanks for being here thru thick and thin, Bob. It was great to meet with you in three dimensions a while ago, and I’m looking forward to more of that in ’15, as we lace our wading shoes separately but together! Peace and health to the family, and happy trails, friend.

  4. Brent says:

    That’s an excellent way to tie up the old and bring in the new. I reviewed my WordPress “year in review” but didn’t find it terribly edifying. You even found a way to use that data in a constructive way for the readers.

    • Thanks Brent. You’re off to a good start with the blog. I recall it took me months to find the first dozen followers (since we don’t rely much on social media). Next year’s review will have you opening your eyelids more. Have a safe celebration tonight. Sounds like it’ll be fun. And, of course, our best for the turning of the calendar!

  5. markw says:

    Been a pleasure to follow along in 2014. Looking for to the new adventures ahead for 2015!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Walt. Just a note of thanks for another great year of Rivertop Rambles. Even though I’m a Cleveland boy, I consider the Genesee headwaters my home water. Your entertaining stories about living and fishing in the Genesee valley help me make me it through. I fish only a fraction of the days you spend on the water but I plan to quickly catch-up when I retire in June.

    Have a great 2015!


    • You’re welcome, Don. Thanks for being here. It sounds like you’ll have an excellent new year. Let me know when you revisit the Genny country because I’m looking forward to meeting you along the riverbanks!

  7. LQN says:

    Walt – enjoyed your adventures this year. what a great year you had. All the best and more fishing in the new year!

  8. Les Kish says:

    You did good Walt. A hundred three days on the water is more than some professional anglers. Here’s to a hundred three more and the pursuit of your top ten in 2015.

  9. Mike says:

    Been a bit “unplugged” through the holidays, Walt, but, as always, have been enjoying your entries. Happy ’15 to you and yours! Mike

  10. Can’t blame ya for being unplugged once in a while. Fishing is good for that, but now our outings are brief ones, if that. I’ve enjoyed communing with you through the year and hope to do lots more in ’15. Have a great new turning, Mike!

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.