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.