Kettle Creek Sunday Morning 6/09/13
It’s not all about the Fish!
With fly rod in hand I follow the trail up creek in the early morn. The endless flow of water riffles beneath the canopy of trees. The surface glistens where brightness has found its way between tree leaves and branches. Somewhere trout are hidden or camouflaged against the creek bed in the 2 feet of water. I have my mind set on up creek, away from the parking area, the road, or the easy access, so I continue on.
Around the bend, out from under the canopy, the lush green forest opens to a much brighter state. The open air is fresh, clean, with a touch of spring dew. The fog is still on the rise blanketing the tree tops like a white feather quilt. Toppled tree limbs lay within the creek diverting the water flow and creating pools and riffles. Trout are somewhere within these diversions, I move on.
I cross the shallows of pebbles and stone and reach the far bank. As I walk along the narrow trail wet blades of grass brush against my wading boots and pants as I travel. While I walk I keep an eye on the flat water to my right looking for any sign of a rise. I hear the tumbling water beyond. At the end of the riffles I stop for a minute and gaze into the water for movement. A slight breeze stirs the calm morning air and I feel the coolness upon my head through the openings in my straw cowboy hat.
Looking down creek, once more, I look for any risers and see none. I walk up the trail and cross the creek through the shallows. Quietly I walk up the bank to a wide deep pool of water. The mirror image of the rise of the far bank and trees reflects on the water surface. A few leaves slowly move with the current. I pull out my first cigar and light it with the flame of my Zippo lighter. The smoke billows from the end of the barrel as I take my first full puff.
I look over the situation, and not wanting to disturb the slow pool, I knot on a small nymph below a wet fly. With plenty of room behind me I pull out line as I false cast. The 9 foot Scott G2 is graceful and soon I let a long loop outward over the peaceful waters. It drops with a soft plop and begins to slowly descend with the incoming slow current. I watch the end of the fly line for any unusual movement as it drifts.
Small black tadpoles dot the shoreline and scurry should I move my booted feet. A bird swoops into a nearby tree and soon a songbird sings to the morning. As I cast and bide my time I catch movement up creek. A deer crosses the creek unaware of my presence. It stops for a bit and, stretching its neck downward, takes a healthy drink of the fresh running water. It looks towards the far bank as it raises its head and continues forward, water softly splashing from its hooves.
Up creek I entertain myself in the faster current. Dropping my nymphs upstream and high sticking them across and down from where I stand. The moving soothing water murmurs its feelings. A small bird flitters about and lands on a root that extends from the sharp rising bank. A breeze stirs up and small white blossoms appear air born and falter to the water. Leaves flutter on branches of a young sapling. Rays of the afternoon sun now glistens upon the surface. I now feel its heat as it penetrates my shirt and warms my bare skin. I knot on a dry fly and proceed to try and make a fish rise. Hours pass unnoticed as I pacify my time in this tranquil setting.
I wade and fish my way back to the parking area in due time. I only fish more likely spots than casting freely about. Finally, after crossing the creek, I step up to the trail and find my way back to my van. It’s still early afternoon. I take a swig of water to quench my thirst and decide what to do next.
Not wanting to leave the beauty and solitariness of the day, just yet, I decide to drive down to Leidy Bridge. To my surprise there isn’t a fisherman in sight of this well fished section. I turn around on the narrow dirt road and park along the brush that grows between the road and the creek. I put on my gear once more and find my way down to the stream.
The sun is shining brightly upon the water. I look up creek as the water ripples towards me in the shallows. It flows around my waders and continues towards the bridge unencumbered by any obstacles above the surface. The water flows around the abutments of the bridge and continues on as far as my eyes can see. Across creek a tall tree overshadows the water from the afternoon sun. I wade a third of the way across the creek, giving me plenty of back casting room, and begin to pull line out of the reel.
The medium action Scott G2 flexes under the long length of weight forward line. With ease I cast forward to no specific locations until I see a rise within the shadow of the tall tree. I stand firm in the knee deep water and calculate the distance. I pull a few more feet of line off the reel and false cast until I feel sure I can reach my target area. With one foot towards my target I watch my long back cast and then bring the rod forward. The line loops above the water before me carrying my dry fly. I watch as my imitation reaches its destination and softly flutters to the surface. I bring in some slack line and watch the dry fly drift in the shadows
I leave the peaceful waters before dark. I drive along the lake and follow the winding road that continues below the dam and along the river. I light up a Legend Ario Prima Calidad that my friend Mark had given me some time ago. The big ring cigar and dark Maduro wrapper looks potent. After the light up I find it to be of medium body and a smooth smoke for the long way home.
Now, with my mind more at ease, I realize that from the time I awoke this morning until now not a word was spoken. Not a minute was wasted to worry.
The time spent wasn’t all about the fish.