Relative to other Octobers that I recall, this month has been drab and wet, with little change in the color of the foliage, and with few fish caught on my various ventures. Several highlights, however, come to mind and beg description…
Early one Sunday morning, I hit the upper Kettle watershed with friend and long-time blog supporter, Bob Stanton. Kettle Creek, even above the bridge on Rt. 44 in Potter County, PA, was flowing too high for comfortable wading, so we found good reason (as if one was needed) to fly-fish on a couple of wild tributaries of the upper stream. The brook trout that obliged our efforts were mostly small fish rising to the surface, but it seemed as though the spawning had occurred already, and those trout, still willing to feed, were pretty much exhausted by the process.
We talked to a fellow on the main stem who was giving up but quick to tell us of his recent success. This guy, who lives nearby and knows the trout stream pretty well, pulled out his phone and shared a photo of a massive brown trout (22 inches?) that he claimed to have taken on a deadly lure– several of which adorned his otherwise reasonable fly box.
What kind of “fly” works so well on autumn browns? Why, the “Ear Plug,” of course. That foamy orange thing, shaped like a tear-drop, that you insert when mowing the lawn or trying to sleep beside a snoring spouse. I doubt that I’ll ever try one of these awesome attractors but, if you think about it, an Ear Plug does resemble a big overcooked fish egg, doesn’t it?
By mid-week, I was ready to appear in City Court along with other rivertop protesters concerned about the “Wind Farm” proposal to cite about 176 windmill turbines, each one close to 600-feet in height, throughout several townships where I make my home. The placement of turbines may be good in some locations where people truly want them but, for this place, they’re deplorable and tragic. Most people don’t give a shit about wind farms one way or another, or just assume that Government and Big Energy corporations are telling the truth about their relevance wherever people of modest incomes are too poor to fend them off. I was glad to have good company in the courthouse when I read the following statement to assembled citizens and to various officials…
I will speak for people deeply rooted in this area who harbor a concern about the so-called wind farm projects slated for Steuben County. I will try to speak for the wildlife of this region that has no voice to be heard by the outsiders.
I, for one, consider these proposals to establish 600-foot turbines, along with accompanying infrastructure, to be an invasion of industrialism, unwanted and unnecessary. These energy companies enter our homeland claiming to consider the environmental effects of what they do, claiming to consider our input and anxiety, but they are here for one thing only– government green.
They don’t know what the people want, nor do they have an antidote to the serious problem of global warming. They are here on business with a singular concern, and it has nothing to do with who we are as a community, nor with the welfare of our land and waters. The invaders will rob us of the peace and comfort we derive from our beautiful surroundings.
Their establishment will hardly put a dent in our use of carbon-based energy sources. It will be expensive, and more harmful to our health and well-being than a life that’s lived with a careful and considerate use of natural resources.
Please join me in saying, No Deal to the turbines. May the wind blow freely through these hills and hollows, unfettered by the monoliths that serve but the few.
Off my soapbox, it was time for me to reassemble a season for tributary salmon and brown trout fishing. It would be my 20th consecutive season for this crazy pursuit and, frankly, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to continue chasing the big fish where, as some participating critics surmise, the Internet and social media are killing off the fun.
So I fished up north on Saturday. Surprise: the creek was low and still a little warm. The browns had yet to arrive, and the salmon, although freshly run, were still few in number. I had one bruiser fairly hooked on two different occasions but he turned the water upside-down and each time threw the hook.
Just before I left, a group of 10 or 11 Pennsylvania anglers arrived to fish in their favorite pool. They were armed with heavy-duty spin rods and nets the size of table chairs. A father and son stood in the middle of one pool blatantly attempting to snag a cruising chinook. Two fly-fishers approached me on the bank while staring at the father-son duo. One guy said, “Look at that. IQ’s of 17, looking for lunch.” I don’t think I responded verbally, preferring not to reinforce an obvious case of socio-economic snobbery, but I’m sure that I smiled inside.