An Excuse To Be…

The arrival of March is always an exciting time for me, no matter what the weather’s like. It can be cold and snowy, wet and windy, or warm enough by day to get the sap flowing skyward through the maple trees. When March arrives at these northern rivertops, it’s time to think spring, to get outdoors and open up the senses, ready for the first American robin, red-winged blackbird and fox sparrow, ready to assess the trout waters for another season of one-on-one involvement with Ma Nature.

South Bend 290 takes a tree break…

March 1st was a beautiful day to fly fish the upper Allegheny. The sun was out; the air temperature approached the 50-degree mark; a first band of migratory blackbirds appeared. A smattering of stoneflies hatched from river pools; a trout or two rose to the emerging insects, and I had a chance to inspect some nice trout close at hand.

Woolly Buggered…

The fishing, enjoyable as it was, seemed almost incidental to the call of March, “… an excuse to be outdoors…” I’m quoting Walt McLaughlin, book publisher, writer and blogger who recently announced publication of my new work by Wood Thrush Books (see his blog post at McLaughlin included the following words I’d like to share (okay, so I’m sneaking in one last bit of promo!):


Wings Over Water is similar to Franklin’s previous collections of personal essays, delving deeply into the sport of fly fishing and the riverine ecosystem. But the focus of this book differs significantly from his other work. This time around, Franklin draws attention to the flora and fauna around him. His passion for fly fishing is matched by a lifelong interest in birds, and nature in general. There are times when his observations of the natural world make his angling endeavors seem like just an excuse to be outdoors. Then he regales us with a bit of fishing lore, or his own streamside adventure, and the familiar Franklin is back. It’s a nice balance. This is unquestionably some of his best writing…

Please check it out. I think you’ll enjoy, and I thank you all for reading, whether you buy a copy or not…Available at Amazon Books (paperback and Kindle) or directly from the publisher at

dam cold waters…

an excuse to be outdoors…


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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10 Responses to An Excuse To Be…

  1. plaidcamper says:

    Excuses, or pretty good reasons?! Either way, with the hint of spring, it feels better than ever to get out.
    My copy of WoW is bobbing along the Amazon waterways, and will hopefully make landfall at Ucluelet Post Office shortly…

  2. Bob Stanton says:

    Ha! I recognize that little island, the cutbank opposite and the little pool there that usually harbors a trout or two. The beaver dam downstream, thence onto the series of runs and riffles before arriving at the flat water before the bridge. On and on…

  3. Brent says:

    Isn’t any hobby or leisure activity just an excuse to capture some feeling or sensation? And if you get that feeling from being outside, many hobbies are available to provide that excuse!

    • Leisure activities probably are excuses to capture some special feeling or sensation. In the context of what’s been stated for the book, I think what is meant is that fishing can be more than simply the act of catching fish… It can be an excuse, or reason, for experiencing and enjoying a fuller range of natural phenomena. This would hold true for other outdoor hobbies or activities.

  4. Jim Kittleson says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Will definitely have to check out the book Walt!
    Snow’s mostly melted here now. Was 48 today and tomorrow is supposed to be a little warmer. So, Spring Fever has officially taken hold here. Getting excited to see everyone again, do some projects at the camp, and go fishing up the runs! Your Allegheny sure seems like a spot! Nice fish, great pics and great blog!
    See you soon Walt!

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