Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Birthday Adventure 2017

Birthday Adventure 2017
4/20, 4/21/2017

 It wasn’t a banner day as far as trout catching as I had hoped but it turned out to be a good day to celebrate my 60th birthday. With trout fishing and good cigars, food and beverages, it was satisfying.


 I worked a few hours Thursday and headed out to Potter county for 4 days of trout fishing. After stopping in Coudersport to deliver flies I made it to Ole Bull Campground around 3:00pm. Finding they wanted $24.00 a night for a tent sight without electric or water I thought was gouging. I figured I’d rather sleep in my truck for at least the first night.
 From there I drove to the section of Kettle I know well and like to fish. There is usually some fish rising. After getting my gear on, I walked down to the creek and entered the cool waters of Kettle.
 The water was in great condition. The sun was peeping out between the cloud cover now and then and with that brought a few small caddis flying above the water. I saw a few Mayflies, I would say Hendricksons, but I couldn’t catch any to identify them. Fishing the stretch of water I caught a few trout on Woolly Buggers and while nymph fishing. 

  It wasn’t till after 6:30 when things got more interesting. Caddis started to flutter about the water pretty heavy. This brought a few trout to the surface. A bleached Elk Hair Caddis would imitate the wing color but I wasn’t sure of the body color. Trying to catch a fly in the air isn’t an easy accomplishment. Anytime one got near I tried to nab it in flight but I wasn’t having any luck. From the road I probably looked like some long haired hippy hallucinating, grabbing money falling from the sky. I kept at it though and finally had one in my grasp.
 The body color was a creamy yellow with an orange egg sack. If there were tails on it, it might have looked more like a sulfur flying around but it definitely was a Caddis. I always carry at least one box of a variety of Caddis with me. I opened the box and picked out a #18 Elk Hair Caddis though some of the Caddis I seen were in the #16 to #14 range. Within a few casts it was hard to see the small Caddis so I switched over to a #14 for visibility and to see if the trout would take it.
 There weren’t many risers but occasionally one would surface the water hard enough to make that audible splash. I’d turn my head in time to see the swirl left behind and get an idea of his feeding zone.
 Just beyond midstream there was a good splash upon the surface and I was looking right at it when it all happened. I made a few false casts and landed the Caddis upstream from the rise. He didn’t attempt to take it on the first drift through but on the next cast he nailed it like someone swooping pocket change, being thrown towards him, out of mid air. I set the hook with a backhand and my first dry fly caught fish was tormenting the line and rod like it was never caught before.  

  Now that I was sure I conquered the Caddis identity it was time to confidently catch more trout on the dry. Every time I saw a surface disturbance I was casting the Caddis imitation to the zone. It was more times than not I brought the trout to the surface and more times than not it was hooked and fighting to get free. It was like picking off pop-up targets at a shooting gallery.

 Even a sneaky sipper wasn’t safe if I happen to see it dimple the surface water.

 The trout I caught were pretty much tearing up the Caddis imitations with their frisky tormenting battles. I had to change patterns as the elk hair was being tore up and slipping out of the thread wraps. It was getting dark as the sun was already below the mountain tree tops. One more trout and I headed back to the truck.

 After talking to the owner of the parking spot I was at, he agreed to let me park there overnight to save on camping rates. He looked in my truck and mentioned how it didn’t look too comfortable. I told him with a few shots of bourbon and a beer it might be comfortable enough.
 After changing clothes I headed into Cross Forks for beer, wings and to watch the Pen’s beat the Blue Jackets.


 When I woke up real early Friday morning I found Kettle Creek was running muddy. It must have rained harder and longer than I remember while I was sleeping. I drove over to Cross Fork Creek and it was flowing fast, high and muddy also. I had a couple of options. I’m not one to wait muddy waters out so I had to find some place to fish. My options were to drive all the way to Black Moshannon or head over to Young Womans Creek and hope it was fishable. Since YWC was closer and not much out of the way I figured of stopping there and checking it out.

 When I got to the Young Womans Creek it was flowing pretty fast and also was stained but fishable

 I dressed into my fishing stuff and made sure I had everything I needed for the days adventure. Usually I fish this with a short rod but seeing the fast current I figured I’d be throwing heavily weighted streamers and extra weighted nymphs. I took out my SAS Scott 5 weight and, because of the narrow creek, my line choice was DT line. I knew it would do well and better to roll cast.
 I tried fishing the fast current but wasn’t doing very well. I decided to walk upstream and look for a wider section with more manageable fishing conditions. It wasn’t until I got a snag in the middle of the creek that I realized the water was deeper than I thought and the quick undercurrent was keeping my offering from not getting to the bottom. I waded out thigh deep to retrieve my bugger when I realized the depth. From then on I added more weight and started to finally get some takers.

  I fished most of the day in a few different sections. I switched off from nymph fishing to Woolly Bugger fishing. I don’t think the fish were moving very far in the swift current so I had to get my offerings right in front of them.

  The trout I did catch were good fighters in the strong current. I lost quite a few trying to get them across or up to me against the force of the current but I did manage a few netted.

 A few good cigars kept me content in between the hook ups. I forgot to bring bug spray so the cigars were more than just a satisfying smoke. They also kept the bugs from flying around my face.

 By the end of the day I was pretty much played out. I did catch a few trout but it was challenging wading the forceful current. I actually quit earlier than I usually do but I had a good meal to prepare for my birthday dinner.

 Back at camp I took out the Venison butterfly steaks I had marinating. After the coals got hot enough I laid them on the charcoal grille and seasoned them with Montreal Steak seasoning. I also sprinkled them with bourbon barrel aged Worcestershire sauce.

 While the steaks were cooking I enjoyed a pint of my favorite beer. WEE-HEAVY-ER from French Broad Brewery from North Carolina. 

 Well, it was time to enjoy my birthday meal cooked to perfection. Venison butterfly steaks that melted in my mouth. 

 After dinner I cleaned up and it was time to celebrate.
 Back in March I went to Kentucky and visited a friend who lives near the bourbon distilleries. We took a couple days and he took me to the distilleries for some bourbon tasting. It’s great to have a designated driver! I tasted a single barrel straight bourbon whiskey from Four Roses that was the best sipping bourbon out of all the ones I’ve tasted. It was kind of expensive for a 750ml bottle so I opted for a $9.00 50ml instead for such the occasion. (I like to plan ahead.)

 It doesn’t get much better after a full day of doing what I like to do best and that is trout fishing. After that sitting next to a trout stream, out in the wilderness, relaxing, sipping great bourbon and smoking a good stogie. (A few friends would have made it better but, hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes.)

 Kentucky bourbon and a Kentucky fire cured cigar

  Here’s to 60 years, good health and good fishing.

Cin Cin!



  1. That for Roses is good stuff I bought the same bottle when I visted them last year. nice post!
    Mark Hanes

    1. Thank Mark. Good bourbon, good cigar and trout fishing kind of go together!