My quest for saltwater species taken with a fly rod continued to elude me, defying all odds, on coastal Rhode Island. There were no fish seen or caught in my pleasant trials along Quonnie Pond, at the sand bar on Conimicut, or from a levee in Narragansett Bay. A perfect skunk!

Who else could boast a zero grade for casting feathers at a dozen mid-Atlantic and Caribbean sites? Not many, I’m sure. And even though a teetering sector of my rational mind still offers that old “You were in the right place at the wrong time” argument, the remaining mental chambers will have none of it. They insist that Salty Walt defer to the “Rivertop Rambler” in all future outings with a fly… I’m listening.

at Quonnie Pond…

So, the real catch was elsewhere, right? Sure, from the family ties, from the fresh coastal air and brush of brackish water, from the sight of swans and ospreys, and even from the sweep of all too many holiday celebrants. Spring had been prison-like for people everywhere, thanks to the pandemic, but summer was proclaiming independence.

Atlantic slippersnails, or common slipper shells, edible either way, had attached themselves & stained a clamshell…

excused from the fast lane…

Celebrants kept their social distance from each other or displayed their ignorance head to head, aligned with the spirit of exploding cherry bombs or with a full moon that competed with the rain of fireworks on the changing tides of the Atlantic.

the American political scene…

for which this helps…

One of our interesting hikes occurred at Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge, an 800-acre tract described as “the only undeveloped salt pond in Rhode Island.” This former sheep farm is lined with great stone walls enclosing native grasslands, shrubland, forest, marshes, and sandy beaches with observation platforms and pedestrian benches.

Birding was alive with sights and sounds of mute swans, egrets, ospreys, hooded warblers, and white-eyed vireos, to name a few of the many species we observed in their bay and ocean habitats.

And speaking of the bay, I’ll remind anyone interested in poetics (the last time, I promise) that my latest– a 71-page handbound volume– is available now from FootHills Publishing, Amazon, and Wood Thrush Books, as well as from the old rambler at his high hills abode.

From the High Hills to the Bay

“New poetry by the naturalist and writer Walt Franklin, set in upstate New York. Appalachian Dawn, The Waterthrush, In Jewelweed, Eastern Coyote Poem, Swamp Magic… straightforward, well-crafted, nature-related verse from one of the region’s passionate stewards.” — W. McLaughlin, reviewer.

Another sample:


     Soaring circles

around the Sun

     drawing the Moon

thru his embered tail


plays and hunts

     creation in his eye

the Earth at his claw

*        *        *        *

Thanks everyone. And a couple more photos…

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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15 Responses to Narragansett

  1. Eleata Mitchell says:

    Hi Walt! I didn’t know you were a photographer as well as a writer! Love your photos! Finished reading your latest book, “Wings Over Water”, a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful! I could hear your “voice” as I read it.Then I checked out your blog! Beautiful! I’ve been meaning to write you but hadn’t done it yet….then today in the mail I received your newest book of poetry, “From the High Hills to the Bay”! Thank you so very much! Can’t wait to read it! I have shared your blog with Lauren. I’m sure she will enjoy it! Best wishes!~Eleata

    • Thank you, Eleata! I’m glad you received the books & are enjoying. My thoughts are with you & Lauren & the family and I hope you guys have a safe & wonderful summer!

      • Brent says:

        Another beautiful, inspiring (albeit fish-less) coastal ramble to follow. I’m hoping for a visit by late summer now that our cases are in check, both individually and in Virginia. We’ll share pictures, drinks, and stories down at the rec room!

  2. Greetings and salutations. My wife and I have vacationed on Cape Cod almost annually, starting in 1998. Going to and coming home from CC, we pass through Rhode Island, which I know is a beautiful state. We’ve never stopped to explore RI. We should.

    • Yeah, Absolutely! I still need to visit the Cape but there’s a lot of interesting territory nearby, and we recently explored some nice rural country not far from Newport/Providence, surprisingly enough. There’s always more, which makes exploration fun. Thank you!

  3. Don T. says:

    Sorry the fish weren’t cooperating. Just means you have to go back.
    Thanks for the pics. I appreciate your posts.
    Have not been fishing in the last month. West Branch Ausable gauge is at .75 feet and 100 cfs. Extremely low. Can’t imagine the temps are in range.
    Time for Pa headwaters in another week.

    Tight lines.

    • Thanks Don. Like you, I haven’t been upland fishing… maybe two weeks or longer. Waiting for rain. It’s too dry & hot. I figured we’d have a season like this. The last few summers have been wet ones around here. Let me know when you get down this way & settled in.

  4. Brent says:

    I seem to have posted accidentally in another response chain. You’ll find it below your response to Eleata.

    • Yes, I see that… My blog has been acting randomly, almost chaotically, of late, and I have to thank Alyssa for helping keep it on track. I don’t know, this modern technology… But thanks, and we’ll look forward to your summer visit. The fire pit/rec room seems to sigh for company these days.

  5. plaidcamper says:

    I like how Salty Walt keeps on trying! Beautiful pictures to accompany the fine words, and I hope the beer was as good as it looks.
    Thanks, Walt!

  6. loydtruss says:

    When one has scenery as beautiful as you guys encounter on this outing; the fishing becomes secondary. I wish we had made a stop in this state when we visited the northeast a couple of years ago. Geat post, thanks for sharing

  7. Bob Stanton says:

    “The American Political Scene.” Perfect metaphor. Take solace in the fact that most of my (few and far between) fishing forays have been nearly as successful as your saltwater ventures…

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