Fishing the Cold Dew

No, the Cold Dew isn’t some new trout stream I’ve discovered. Rather, it’s a mini-season designated for early October by the ancient Chinese. The ancients, like those of us responding to shorter daylight hours and to longer, cooler nights, took note of the changing foliage, the coloration of leaves, the cricket’s chirr, the owl’s hoot, and the dewy grass that soon would crystallize into frost. It seemed like a small season within a season, and it’s also a time to activate an angler’s blood grown weary from weeks of summer lethargy.

Fishing the Cold Dew is about returning to a place I love, returning after heavy rains and house work, after polarizing forces in the social realm attempting to make a hash of my existence. Ah, but fly fishing! Catching and releasing trout, focusing intently on the moment of a drifting fly– what a simple thing of beauty, solitary action that engages one with something greater than the human world alone.

on the Salmon…

The heart is frugal, tight with friend and family connections, happy with the land and water, the dimensions of a soul that keeps one active and involved. My age brings autumn thoughts, for sure. But why feel limited because of our mortality? Everything dies, we say, but the dead say nothing. Fishing the Cold Dew brings refreshing balance.

“You should have been here last week!” says a local angler sitting on the river bank, his glazed eyes peering at the rapid flow, at great fish leaping tight-lipped toward the water’s source, ignoring fishermen’s repeated casting, every effort snipping one more strand of hope. “You should have seen the fish we caught!” Arrggh… The Incompleat Angler bangs a head, figuratively speaking.

Genesee River brown…

Away from the crowds, it felt good to be on the water once again. The autumn caddis seemed to pirouette and twist away from the surface tension, getting notice from the browns. They skittered like an old man wobbling over river stones, alert to late-year possibilities, to the struggle of staying balanced both in heart and in the mind.

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 Fishing the Cold Dew

  1. Bob Stanton says:

    Five browns succumbed to a dry fly in the season of the “cold dew” the other. Felt good to get ‘em.

  2. Things are changing …albeit slowly it seems this year. Seems like more than one thing is changing slowly this past 12 to 18 months. Don’t have much control of some of them, more on others. Looks like you had company on those waters at those picturesque moments. A nice Genesee Brown RTR! Ive been telling people I just hope there IS a Fall this year and we don’t go from Summer to Winter overnight. But then, we really don’t have a say in that matter do we? Hope I see you Saturday! Take care RTR and keep taking pictures and posting! UB

    • Thanks UB. There was TOO MUCH company at times, up North, but good to find solitude when we needed it. The local streams are quietly changing for the better, and I agree– hopefully the change will not be too dramatic as the season shifts along… Looking forward to SR come Saturday… See you then!

  3. JZ says:

    Your living right Walt and in a gracious manner. Take nothing for granted, live each day to the fullest cause tomorrows are not sure of anything, that is certain. Nice rainbow and as usual your pictures captured the day..

  4. Brent says:

    Beautiful photos, as usual, to complement your almost zen-like musings on the Cold Dew–a seasonal concept I’d never heard of, but that I instantly recognize. How did the salmon pilgrimage go this year?

    • Thanks for weighing in, Brent. The salmon trip was so-so, good companionship, nice water with a few solid hook-ups but no landing. Not surprisingly it was crowded at this time of year.

  5. AJ Morris says:

    First frost this morning here in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains. Felt good after the unrelenting heat and smoke of summer. There is a smell in the air that triggers something in the deep reaches of the anglers brain. The next few weeks before the snow flies are always the most poignant of the year.

    • AJ, thanks for this report from the Bitterroots… It is the start of a most poignant season, with the first frost setting the scene… Here, among the rivertops, we’re still awaiting that first frost.

  6. Hi. We should live in the moment as much as possible. Often easier said than done, though.

  7. plaidcamper says:

    Cold Dew – I like this season! Another good one, and I particularly liked the lines from the frugal heart – you hooked and expressed similar autumnal thoughts to ones that have been dancing around me of late. Thanks, Walt, and I hope you continue to enjoy Cold Dew season, balancing happily on those river stones!

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