Small Stream Shuffle and Forest Romp

Over the past week and a half the streams and rivers of this region have settled into normal summertime flows, and I’m actually looking forward to a bit of rain again. The fishing has been good, and the streams and woodlands have been fine companions. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s a summary of where I’ve been since my last post, given in the spirit of sharing the outdoor wonders…

Hello Chenunda Creek. I fished you on a muggy morning, keeping an eye on the sky for storms, and catching a wild trout or two. You flow through the upper Genesee drainage. You have new fishing regulations that are open and more liberal (dare I use that word?), but you need an easement from the DEC, declaring public access.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHey there, Dyke Creek. The “Miracle Mile” in the upper half of this Genesee feeder stream was considerably lower than on my previous visit. The sun and the wind were up; the black ducks, the great blue herons, the green herons, the belted kingfisher, and even an osprey mocked a modest catch of wild brooks and browns, all of which reinforce the notion that when I fish alone, I don’t exactly fish alone!

Ms. Genesee. The popular Genny “No Kill Water” at Shongo. Beautiful summer morning; the season passing all too quickly. Fishing was slow, but a brightly-colored rainbow snuck up on a drifting nymph and took it, coming in for a measurement of 16 inches. Love that bamboo casting stroke, so easy and relaxed, quite sensitive and strong.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI met a pair of “Water Sentinels,” volunteers from Wellsville monitoring the river water, lowering a small square device from atop the highway bridge. They check for dissolved solids and report on water quality to NYS Sierra Club. Kudos to these people for what they do. After all, “We drink this water, too.”

Back at ya, Slate Run. A lot of guys were fishing down on Pine Creek, but I met a refugee from Richmond, VA coming up to fish on Slate Run for the first time ever. He had questions for me and I answered him with Slate Run anecdotes based on 30 years of fishing here. He started off by casting at the Mowry Pool, and I worked upstream for a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhalf mile or more.

My god, the wild brooks (7) and browns (4) hit that Stimulator as if it was the last stonefly on the planet. It was like the “old days” today, before the weather closed me down. Leighanne would joke and say, “I guess they don’t need to stock it,” referring to the camp owner who traditionally complains about the slide in fish numbers and who wants Slate Run stocked as it was back in the 60s and 70s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the time I climbed back out to the car, I noticed that the Virginia angler had departed, probably having gone back down to Pine. That’s okay, I thought. It takes a while to get the hang of Slate. If it wasn’t for the possible dangers to be found– poison ivy, rattlesnakes, broken legs, and thunderstorms– this wild place would get overcrowded fast, and where’s the fun in that?

Heh, heh, a wild one in the upper Pine Creek watershed. I was wet wading, and my first step into the 57 degree water was a cool one. I love this little stream for chilling on a hot summer morning. Brook trout rose eagerly to the dry fly, one of them measuring more DSCN6893than nine inches. In the farthest pool upstream, I remembered a sizeable fish that almost took the fly a year ago. Today I dropped a dry fly at the pool’s grassy bank and hooked a lovely wild brown (unusual for this brook trout water) about a foot in length. It didn’t want to be photographed, and who can blame it.

So the fishing goes, and carries me along. As does the local forest, where I’ve had my share of evening walks this week.

DSCN6915No more bear encounters, but the Hemlock Woods still ring with the song of hermit thrushes, and a few wood thrushes, too. The ringing tones are getting quieter as the woodland nesting season closes for another year. Again I wondered what it is about the deep forest grove and the way of thrushes that keeps the place rocking when most of the other habitats in my area have pretty much quieted down completely.

DSCN6911It’s a fine thing to stand among the big trees at dusk and listen to these small, ethereal choristers. Oddly enough, I was reminded of the less gloomy aspects of “The Bells,” a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. I looked it up when I get home, and read, once more, about that euphony of sound…

…How it swells!/ How it dwells/ On the Future! how it tells/ Of the rapture that impels/ To the swinging and the ringing/ Of the bells, bells, bells/ Of the bells, bells, bells, bells/…To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells…DSCN6928DSCN6896DSCN6939

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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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25 Responses to Small Stream Shuffle and Forest Romp

  1. plaidcamper says:

    I enjoyed reading your small stream shuffle – it appears that you’re having a fine time of it out there, morning, noon and night – a splendid way to pass summer days!

    • I’m enjoying it, Plaid– balancing my outdoor time between the stream and the forest, maybe more so than in summers past. And still have a month to go before work kicks in again. I don’t know when you return to school, but I suspect there’s still some weeks of fun to go (and not have to think of it!). Anyway, glad you enjoyed, and thanks again!

  2. Brent says:

    Summer keeps chugging along, and it seems like your favorite streams aren’t disappointing. Is the trail in that one picture in the Pine/Slate area? The porcupine seems like a great, fortuitous picture also.

    • Yeah, the trail scene is from the Black Forest Trail as it approaches a Slate Run crossing. I’m glad I got the porky photo, though it’s not as good as I wanted it. This guy was slippery, scrambling around before I could focus in the dusk. As for the streams, they’ve held up nicely so far, but they’re dropping quickly in this dry period. Thanks!

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    Slate Run – I gotta get my butt out there with a fly rod in hand. All these guys I know ask me if I fish Slate, I tell ’em no, I’ve never. I feel like a heretic.

  4. Ross says:

    What a nice sampling of water & woods, really enjoyed the read. Glad to hear you’re finding all still good fishing despite the recent heat & dry.

    • Thank you, Ross. Well, I was finding it, but conditions can change rapidly, and maybe I was hustling to take advantage of the situation knowing that the bottom could fall out with an influx of the dry and hot (which seems to have arrived now at the end of the month). I hope you’re getting some outdoor RR as well!

  5. Doug Paugh says:

    Everything seems so enchanting, so inviting. Some of the very things I loved about hiking and fishing the backwoods of upstate New York, and PA. You couldn’t have captured it any better, or clearer if you were ringing those bells yourself, which appears to be the case. Great job Walt. Oh, got your envelope this week. Thank you much. Keep up the good work brother.

  6. I want to be Walt when I grow up.

  7. loydtruss says:

    Walt
    This post makes one imagine they are right there with you on this these excursions. Really enjoyed the post
    P.S. It’s ok to use that word “Liberal”

    • Thanks for that, Bill! I like to see all the red and blue states together when it comes to appreciating our natural resources, and I’m glad the post accomodates faithful readers like yourself to walk along with me.

  8. It’s nice to find someone who hears songs and recites poetry to your favorite waters. I hope they continue to answer for years to come.

    • There’s nothing like a little one on one with your favorite waters, and though I don’t sing well I tend to “hear stuff” that I like to pass along to others in case they feel like they’re the only ones who might be a little odd. Yeah I think we all fit in somewhere in the great outdoors, Howard, and I hope you hear some pleasant pools and riffles singing through the seasons, too. Thanks for reading and “chiming in” !

  9. Alan says:

    Thank goodness for wild places, and the protectors of such.

  10. Nice account of your bear encounter in the last post!

    Our water levels are really low this year due to the lowest snowfall we’ve ever had (just three years after the biggest snowfall!). Love how you see these various streams as unique and full of personality.

    Have you ever smoked trout? We just got a smoker and we only have 20 lbs of red salmon filets. Looking for other tasty fish to smoke in case we don’t get any silvers!

    • Thanks Mary Anne! And yes, I’ve been following the news about the weather and Alaska somewhat, so I’m hoping that you and your state begin to see more normalized precipitation for the sake of all involved.
      I’m glad you picked up on the “personal aspects” of the various streams– my favorites each have a uniqueness that becomes more evident as I become familiar with it. That, in itself, adds to the enjoyment of exploration.
      I’ve tasted smoked trout and enjoy it, but haven’t done the smoking myself. If I lived in Alaska I’m pretty sure that I would eat my share of trout now and then, but living here, where the wild trout are sometimes hanging on the edge of existence, they all go back to the drink. Anyway, I’m sure those smoked fillets will taste darn good.

  11. Walt, I am a day or so late getting here to read. But, I am here,,,,,,,, What a nice post and thanks for sharing so much of your wonderful area with us readers.

    Beautiful waters, nice fish, and Serenity. Tough to match that in most places.

  12. No problem, Mel. Glad to share these places and experiences with and others whenever you get the chance to visit. Hope you’re getting some of that serenity, as well. With thanks.

  13. marymaryone says:

    Thank you for sharing your “shuffle” with nature.

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