After a morning hunt in the PA. State gameless lands I decided to go fishing. It was windy out and the squirrels weren’t about let alone any other game. I’m sure the off and on rain showers didn’t help the situation any either.
I could have traveled to a DHAL or FFO project area to fish for fresh fall stocked trout. Instead I selected on staying in the ANF and fish waters open to general fishing. Maybe I wouldn’t catch as many but with the overcast sky, rainy and windy conditions, I figured on being the only one on the creek. First thing when I got there was to take a short nap.
It was near noon when I woke up aside the dirt road next to the picturesque mountain creek. It didn’t take much time before I had my fishing gear on. As I was stringing up my 4 weight fly rod a Jeep pulled in a few yards away. 5 guys came jumping out of the Jeep eager about whatever they planned on doing. They went to the back of the vehicle and started putting on chest waders, hip boots and raincoats and grabbed their spinning outfits and nets. I wasn’t sure if they were going fishing or going to corral the fish and force them in a net. The small creek is no more than 15 yards across at its widest section. No where I know of was the creek more than 3 feet deep and those areas are rare. Most places you can walk across not even getting your knees wet. There are miles of creek along the dirt roadway and these guys decided to park and fish where I was already. Oh well, it’s open to the public and these are the things we must deal with even when the rest of the creek is vacant of other fishermen.
I started to hurry wanting to get down to the water before they did. The group headed down to the creek before me and strung out along the roadside bank. I headed upstream a bit and started fishing a streamer in front of a downed tree that ran the width of the creek. A few guys disappeared downstream and a couple of others walked up creek from me after not catching anything. I suppose it was about an hour later when these guys gave up, walked up to their vehicle and left. By now it started to rain harder so I returned to my van and put on my raincoat.
Back at the creek I was alone now. I lit up an imported stogie and took the time to look around at my surroundings. The cold clear water flowed over and around rocks and branches making for good wavy current and tumbling riffles. Twisted roots extended from bank ledges gathering leaves and twigs that happen near by. The autumn color trees were vibrant yellow, lightest of greens and ambers. Their wet leaves shook with the wind and glistened under the afternoon sun. There were a few fir trees scattered about giving a darker contrast to the lightened forest. Downstream the water flowed around bends and through the forest into infinity. The sound of tumbling water, the fall foliage and clean mountain air made for beautiful scenery and blissfulness.
Many loose leaves floated down with the current making fishing quite more of a challenge. I changed to nymph fishing and caught my first rainbow. With that I felt more confident and continued drifting the nymph as I meandered with the water down through the forest.
Casting up stream some, with a quick mend, I would keep the rod level with the water while following my drifting nymph. The takes were subtle. The slightest hesitation of my floating fly line would have me wristing up for a hook set. Many times an underwater leaf was the culprit of a sudden line twitch. This would have me swinging my line out of the water, resistance free, and occasionally caused line twisting around overhanging branches. Other times it was a lazy trout sucking in my moving offering. This resulted in good fighting fun in tumbling current. The 4 weight bent into the mid section as the rod tip vibrated with the tight line as rainbows struggled on the other end. A few ‘bows’ cleared water with short energetic jumps and subsurface splashing. Most rainbows were a good handful with meaty bodies and wide girths.
The rainbows were well scattered about the creeks course so I moved slow and tried to drift the nymph in every nook and cranny that I thought might hold a trout. In the shallower riffling water I’d work the far deeper bank-side. Under these cut banks I would be surprised by a small wake that was created by a trout following my drifting nymph into the shallows. These well hidden rainbows were dark and fought more powerfully than the others caught.
In the deeper sections I might hook up with two but it was uncommon. Mostly it was one here and one there. This kept me on my toes and curious what I would catch around the next bend.
The tail out of a deeper stretch, I came across, I saw a few trout rising as the sun shined through the moving clouds. I wasn’t prepared for this but found a few dry midges on my fly patch from days gone by. Needless to say I didn’t get one to rise for my dry fly attempts.I wasn’t sure how many hours I spent, at the time, fishing this mountain stream before calling it quits. When I got back to the van it was near 5:00pm. I had been out for about 5 hours on this peaceful section of creek. I changed clothes and put away my gear. I ate a precooked cold stuffed pepper and washed it down with a cold beer. By then I was well relaxed as my eyes grew tired from the early morning hunt and fishing activity throughout the long day.
As raindrops pattered on the roof of the van, under my sleeping bag I placed myself back in the water. Colorful leaves fluttered with the passing breeze. The sound of tumbling water was the only sound heard except for the occasional splashing of a rainbow on the end of my tight line!