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.
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.
Hey 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.
I 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 half 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.
By 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 than 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.
No 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.
It’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…