Author Archives: rivertoprambles

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!

Common Sense is Like Running Water

I have a new book of poetry just released from FootHills Publishing in Kanona, New York. From the High Hills to the Bay is a 72-page hand-sewn book with spine– pretty cool, even though I understand that poetry is not … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Reflections on a Gentle Art

  The Genesee River near Shongo, New York was flowing weakly and with water almost too warm for trout survival. I found a stretch of river cool enough for an evening of fly fishing and began hooking and releasing hatchery … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Planted Near Running Water

“Happy the man who does not read advertisements,/ does not listen to their radios/ does not believe their slogans. He will be a tree planted near running water.” — Ernesto Cardenal Often in times of social and political turmoil, I’ll … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Operation Perdigon

I’d intended to fish the brook ever since a friend indicated that his son had looked for trout there years ago. Through my decades of digging into local history, especially with regard to native fish populations, I had never seen … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Halfway Lake

The small seven-acre lake was a good choice for a meeting of the clans. My son and his wife would drive north from Arlington, VA to meet us at Halfway Lake, a feature of Raymond B. Winter State Park in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Spinners, the Final Stage

“Spinners” form the fourth and final stage in the life cycle of a mayfly. The aquatic insect lives through egg, nymph, adult (dun), and spinner stages. The adult typically rises from the stream as nature says, “It’s time to mate.” … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Between the River and the Rail

Railroad fever gripped the nation during the latter decades of the nineteenth-century. As the New York and Pennsylvania timber and tanning industries burgeoned from dreams of endless forest and mineral wealth, many towns in the region clamored for a train … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

An Early Canisteo Cabin

[On the first white settlement in this watershed– a place that became my permanent home two centuries later… Understandably, no photo of original cabin is available.] The American Revolution had ended. General Sullivan, acting on the orders of George Washington, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Picket Pin

One of my older fishing pals told me that his favorite fly pattern for night angling on the home river was a Picket Pin. Another elder told me that he likes to cast the same time-honored pattern (first developed in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

River SCOP Rambles

Scop, you say? Well, my dictionary defines the word as a bard, or poet, of the Anglo-Saxon days in ancient England. I was drawn to the word and to the scop’s role in medieval time because of the pandemic and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments