Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Calibrating


Arriving. Black bear eating berries at the turnoff. Making camp. Stepping into a familiar and favorite river. Several beautiful, wild fish in the afternoon. Fishing slowly, methodically. Soaking it in. Being changed. A long glide for magic hour. No takers. Tying some flies in the firelight. Pouring rain overnight.

The new moon. A wet morning. Off-color water. Rigging up at the truss bridge. A family of mink chirping among the riverside stones. Fog on the green water. Setting the tone with a gold bar on the first cast. Losing count of trout by mid-morning. Breaking for a riparian lunch. Losing a nice fish during an unplanned swim. Then, my largest brown from this river to date. Seventeen, sparsely spotted, fleshy adipose, slight hookjaw on a head too large for its body. Wild. Contented, driving to investigate some native brook trout water. Hitting a chipmunk on the road. Low summer flows. A return for the evening hatch. A turkey vulture eating my dead chipmunk. No takers from a new tailout.

Breaking camp. Phoning to plan the upcoming rendezvous with Mark. Returning to the river because I have some time and the fishing is good. Several beautiful fish, again. Two perfect brook trout among the golden browns. Midges, pheasant tails and stimulators rigged as a hopper-dropper. One last fish on top and that was that. Hitting the road to meet my brother.

My river was kind and is still beautiful. All was now well, with many days on the water still ahead of me.












Monday, June 5, 2017

Creek Stalking


Every Spring I make a point to fish some local Delmarva creeks for a myriad of species. This usually occurs as the leaves are reaching their peak and the shad run is basically over. I mostly target carp, but I also have the chance to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, hickory shad, perch, catfish, and some leftover trout. Sometimes, I try to catch all of the aforementioned species in a short after work session. More often than not, I just focus on the carp. This year, I only fished two sessions and was able to tangle with a few quality specimens...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Topography



The gorge is some twenty-four miles of whitewater with only a rail-trail for company. You'll go under a singular bridge between the put-in and the first possible take-out, 9 miles later. That might not sound remote in an absolute sense, but in Pennsylvania it's just about as far out there as you can get when searching for trout.

This gorge's soundscape is geologic. It is the sound of water moving downhill and of rocks weathering slowly. It is one of the oldest sounds on Earth.

To a degree, aesthetics have begun to matter and mean more to me as I approach middle age. Not being reminded of the Anthropocene by sight or sound, for even a day, is a privilege. Places like the gorge are a relief and a refuge for the mind and the soul, where a rarified focus is able to emerge.

In a sense, this was the maiden voyage of our Stealthcraft Hooligan XL as it was the very place we had in mind when forking over the cash. Rocky rapids with names and the maps that show how to run them are the gatekeepers to an emerging wild trout refuge. Like learning to drive a manual transmission on the way home from the dealer, we developed a confidence at the oars in a few hectic river miles that saw us safely through the rest of the year.

Blue haloed browns have staked a claim to this piece of water, descendants of holdovers that found cold water seeps to weather the summer months. They're found among a healthy population of bronzebacks that like to play. It was early June. Tumbling a streamer through the boulders brought many fish to hand and an evening slate drake hatch turned a tail out on as the sun set and darkness crept into the gorge.