The tumultuous U.S. election events have finally been resolved, or have they? This is not the time or place for lingering on politics but I’ll say that, over all, I was pleased with the results while acknowledging that there are many issues to be worked out over the next four years if this divided nation has any hope for healing and the preservation of democracy.
Fishing for brown trout and landlocked salmon with an old split-bamboo rod has been one of my therapeutic acts for staying happy. Jim and I would hit the big creek up at Ithaca and study the water for signs of an autumn run. The year 2020 has been unusual in almost every way imaginable, and fly-fishing has been less than spectacular, so the hope was that the autumn season would return a semblance of normality and be productive.
Some much needed rainfall in October helped alleviate the drought conditions in upstate New York, but November ushered in dry Indian summer and returned the sight of low, clear water conditions. Fishing for large browns and landlocked salmon didn’t look very promising but in actuality the fish were there in limited quantities and we did okay.
The following passages are from my book Beautiful Like a Mayfly (Wood Thrush Books, 2015): “Landlockeds are essentially Atlantic salmon that have lost their seaward instincts. They’re a little smaller than their famous counterpart but, unit for unit, are no less a game fish for the angler. Living about 100 miles from where these salmon make their spawning run from Cayuga Lake through Ithaca, New York, I had only two or three shots at the fish per year. And the salmon runs depended on sufficient autumn rains to get them moving from the bigger water. Here my window of opportunity was usually small…
“I spoke with an angler who’d already caught an eight-pound brown on an egg-skein. Landlockeds had arrived as well, and I employed a dark Woolly Bugger with a chartreuse head to stir them into action. Salmon don’t feed on a spawning run, but an attractor fly or egg pattern often gets them to strike instinctively….
“Searching for salmon in a creek or river is a form of sight-fishing that requires full attentiveness and a slow approach. It’s like hunting then, and I found that a hunt for landlockeds is more deliberate than a search for the massive Pacific salmon farther north. I tried to stay attentive to the variations of light and water, to the depth of flow, to various sounds and motions both in the water and beyond. Sometimes I would pause for a glimpse of the beautiful waterfall upstream, one of several that Ithaca is renowned for….”
Beautiful Like a Mayfly (actually a memoir and travelogue, of sorts) and several other of my nonfiction titles are available from Wood Thrush Books and Amazon. Dare I say it? We’re getting closer to that gift-giving season, and I know that some small-press writers and publishers who believe in good outdoor literature would appreciate your interest and support.
Looks like you had a successful day. Used to fish that stream up to that beautiful waterfall when I legend in Syracuse.
That net barely cut it! Like bringing a knife to a gunfight 😂
Thanks for bringing back memories my friend.
You’re welcome, and thanks Don! I know what you mean about the net being on the smallish side for such a place, but it actually was a necessary item, very handy in subduing the struggle at the edges so that the fish weren’t greatly injured. I’m not surprised that you’ve enjoyed the waters here, but am glad that you did.
Jaws – ‘We’re gonna need a bigger boat’…. yep, you’re going to need a bigger net!
Nice looking day, ditto on the salmon. Sorry that you mistaken that football for a trout! Ha! What a glutton he/she must have been.
Really neat looking waterfall/s – cascading sort on the right and slightly more direct line on the left. That’s a great picture! Glad you had a good outting. UB
I hope that brown trout/football didn’t get kicked around too much after its release! I’m not a fan of bigger nets, feeling that they’re cumbersome, although I’m not averse to getting help occasionally from someone who’s not bothered by their carry. Anyway, thanks for the kind response.
Your words and images are therapy around here, and always appreciated. I’m happy that there is a sense we’ll be able to breathe a bit easier come January, assuming norms are adhered to.
Yes, assuming norms are adhered to, and we don’t need a bulldozer to get some action… Always appreciated, Plaid!
For anyone reading who is unfamiliar with Walt’s published work, I can attest that Beautiful Like A Mayfly, as well as the rest of his catalogue are well worth the read. Always insightful, he frames the natural world in ways that you may not have looked at it before. Unsolicited plug by me.
Thank you, Bob. Mucho!