It’s been kind of a goofy April. I’ve gotten out to fish a time or two, and caught some fish. But I don’t really feel like I’ve had that FISHING TRIP that really gets down in your soul and recharges your battery. The other day I was standing at our garden pond, feeding the wife’s fish. Staring at them, I caught myself daydreaming about whether or not they’d eat an Adams up on top. I was certain I knew the answer.
Back in the winter, I had caught myself staring at topo maps of one of my favorite watersheds. I noticed a creek I had never paid attention to before, and I couldn’t stop ruminating on it. It was out of the way. It had difficult access. Hell, it had NO access, unless you had a boat. It had gradient. The whole watershed has brookies, and I was just sure this stream was gonna be the unfished holy grail. A tight-lipped fishing buddy was consulted over a snort of bourbon. Plans were laid. We were just waiting for spring.
April arrived and with it no rain. We haven’t had a good rain in weeks. We were still planning our trip into __________ Creek, but damn, we could use some flow. And a couple more weeks of time for the trees to leaf out at that elevation wouldn’t hurt, either.
However, the local TU chapter was hosting a cleanup in the watershed on Sunday morning, and we couldn’t miss the chance to give back, so it was decided. Sunday was the day to make the trip to __________ Creek and see what Mother Nature had been hiding in plain sight all this time.
Saturday evening drug. I loaded the truck.
We hit the road early Sunday. First things first…
From 7:45 to about noon, we picked up after the assholes, fucksticks, and shitheels.
The TU boys supplied some sausages, chips, and cold Yuenglings, and we stayed for a polite number, but we had other things on our minds. The put-in had been chosen from the topo map as well, to give us access and a reasonable paddle into the mouth of the creek. We couldn’t have drawn it up better. It was perfect. After a nice 20 minute paddle across the deep, cold, clear reservoir beached the yaks and rigged up.
The water at the mouth was skinny. There was NO canopy yet, and the midday sun from bluebird skies was beginning to pound and rapidly warming the air from the mid 30s into the mid 70s. If anything, it was a little too nice to trout fish. We soldiered on best we could.
A few hundred yards in from the mouth the gradient started to pick up, and we started to pick up a fish now and then.
The deeper we penetrated the forest, the better it got. Every fishy looking spot held a fish, and the really good ones held several. They were cooperative and willing to eat up top. Droppers were abandoned within a quarter mile. It was a dry fly day.
It was one of those rare times when it worked out just the way you drew it up in your mind. The fish were there, and they had more size than anywhere in the whole watershed. In a watershed that averages 6” fish, we were averaging 9. 10’s were common, and we caught only a couple dinks. In the skinny July-like water, we spooked a few fish, and saw at least two 12+ monsters hiding in deep holes snarled with deadfall. The kind where you watch the fish from 20 yards away, knowing there is no way in hell you can get a cast in there, and if by chance you do… no way in hell you get a drift. So you just tip your cap to the fish and keep moving on upstream.
The blue bracelet I’ve worn since last April identified me to the locals in Sierra Leone as an Ebola responder. (As if my white skin in the middle of that clusterfuck didn’t!) But my eye kept being drawn to it, thinking of all I saw and did in Africa a year ago. One year ago to the day I was off in the bush at a remote village that had been wrecked by the disease. The locals were scared, angry, and looking very hard at Whitey over there. Ebola wasn’t a viral hemorrhagic fever to them, it was witchcraft… and I might just have brought it with me. West Africa was wonderful, and terrible. Going over there is probably the best thing I’ve ever done. But I decided it is better to be ankle deep in a brookie stream.
We spotted one of those big honkin brookies rising in this pool, under a deadfall and below a six foot waterfall. There was no way to approach from downstream. My buddy tried to drop a fly over the falls from upstream. I watched from above and he managed several really nice drifts, but he was probably spotted. The fish didn’t get big and old being stupid. We fished on.
By the time we had fished 1.5 miles, it was getting late in the day. We came to this little plunge pool, and decided it was a good landmark to remember when we come back. Because we will be back. We didn’t catch a fish in this hole, but heads were plunged into the icy water to cool off prior to the long hike back to the boats.
It worked out just the way we planned it. The trip, the fish, the camaraderie. We made the long drive home, and decided it couldn’t have been any better.
But we’re already planning the return trip when things are leafed out, and when the creek is falling and starting to clear after a summer thunderstorm...[/report]