Preparations for Spring Creek
Hunters and fishermen do a lot of preparations before the actual activity, at least this one does. From wearing a favorite shirt each time out for luck, preparing a lunch a certain way or training bodily functions. Yes, I actually had a friend who, a week or so before hunting season, started training his body to go to the bathroom at 5:00am in the morning than at 7:30am or so from his normal routine during the work week. He explained to me how one’s body gets into a habit, just like expecting that coffee each morning or your body will go into withdraw. Nothing worse than starting out in the freezing cold early morning hunt and having to find a tree to lean on to drop a stool.
A couple of my preparations, not necessarily for luck, but just a ‘habit’ is as follows. When my gramps and I would go deer hunting he told me to always carry a dime in case I get lost, I can call for help. You have to remember I grew up when there were phone booths outside every mini market or gas station and such. I kept the tradition only by carrying a quarter now even if there isn’t many telephone booths around. One thing I always wondered, but never questioned, was that I never seen a telephone booth in the woods, even if I ever would have been lost to make that call!
I still pack a lunch during big game season of buttering both sides of the potato bun so my sandwich wouldn’t get stale. Heck, I’ve found salami potato bun sandwiches in the back of my hunting coat months later and the bread was as soft as a warm pancake, it looked like one also!
When it comes to fishing I prepare myself for the streams I plan on fishing. I bring full flexed rods for slow calm dry fly fishing days. I bring a fast action rod for windy days and streams I know I’ll need long casts and medium fast as my every day creek rod. Different floating lines on their own spools help also. When I go fishing for a three day weekend I also bring some fly tying material especially when I’m not familiar with the waters or have been fooled before on such waters. So my past weekend trip to Spring Creek, near Bellefonte, I brought along some tying material to help from not being disappointed.
It had to be just above freezing but without the gusting wind as the day before. The bare ground, bare trees and natural surroundings were of an early morning brisk spring day,, with a few falling snowflakes that gently drifted like goose down feathers. The first thing I noticed, after taking a seat, was there were no windows. Being it was a bit dim outside at the time I kept the door slightly opened. After my eyes adjusted to the dullness inside the second thing that caught my attention was the broom by the door. Now I’ve used many a outhouses in my hunting, camping and fishing adventures and I have to admit I never seen a broom in an outhouse. I mean who actually sweeps a rustic outhouse floor? Besides that there was the more common plastic lidded coffee container that I was sure that kept the ‘T’ paper dry and from being used as a rodents comfortable living quarters. Next to the seat bench, to my left, was some kind of magazine and a pump spray bottle of air freshener. The air freshener was of vanilla ice cream scent! Now, normally I’d expect to see pine aroma or some kind if outdoorsy scented air freshener. Anyhow I left the inside of the outhouse smelling like vanilla ice cream with a touch of chocolate chit aroma!!
As a light offering of snowflakes fell I got my warmest clothes on and headed for the location I intended to fish. On the drive over, snow started to fall with more abundance as the morning sky brightened quizzically. By the time I got my waders and boots on the snow fall was getting quite annoying and started to accumulate upon the ground. With cold hands I assembled my two piece Scott five weight and with cold fingers knotted on fresh tippet and my double duo offering. By the time I headed up creek it looked like it was the middle of winter with a major snow squall developing. I wasn’t too thrilled with the situation but I had nothing better to do and I was going fishing! I really didn’t expect to catch much, in fact, 1 beneath would be just fine due to conditions, so I decided the morning just might be for picture taking and cigar smoking. I lit up a Sinclair ‘55’ sun grown and went on my way.
(Notice the snow accumulation in the background)
The snow decided to tease me as I got further and further down stream from my van. The only excitement was a trout took my drifting worm pattern, near the rocky bank, and struggled with me into the faster current. After a good enjoyable tussle he became free and I was thankful not to get my hands wet. After an hour or so playing in the water in the snow fall I headed back up to the van for another drink. After that I went back up creek and began to fish my way back down with different patterns. Each time I’d have to wipe off my bifocal shades to make sure my cold fingers were tying the knots correctly. This time when I got to the van there were at least a couple of inches of snow that had gathered about and the wind picked up. My coat was a bit heavier than when I started due to the thick moisture in the absorbing snowflakes that happen to fall and lay upon my coat now and than.
It was near 1:30pm when I decided to drive back up creek towards camp. Aside the road I decided to warm up a bit and listen to the Pen’s game on the radio. I woke up a bit later and munched on crackers and cheese till the end of the second period. The sun was out and the snow flakes just about quit…..until I was about 40 yards from my van down stream.