Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fly Fishing: Highlights...Part 7

Even back in the day brook trout such as this were as rare as white crows...at least for me.
Following graduation I landed a job as a consultant forester. Lucky me HQ turned out to be about 10 steps from the Lackawaxen River (more on the fishing later). My territory included PA's Pocono Mountains, eastern New York, most of New England including southern Maine. More to the point I performed or oversaw various forestry operations on a variety of properties--all very private, all very wealthy, nearly all containing within their boundaries some really cushy, really private fly water. Naturally, upon meeting up with said landowners and/or appointed reps, utmost on my agenda was gaining fishing access...don't tell the boss.

The Lackawaxen turned out to be even better than I hoped. Heavily stocked and surprisingly underfished it also harbored a decent population of wild and holdover trout, rainbows and brookies mostly. But the real surprises were the healthy population of smallmouth bass and the shad run--fugitives from the big event hosted by the Delaware River each spring. The confluence lay just a couple miles downstream of the office where, by the way, the famous and talented writer Zane Gray and new bride, Dolly, first set up house-keeping. A practicing dentist at the time Gray decided to switch gears and instead pursue a full-time writing career. And we all know how that turned out.

Anyway the job entailed considerable travel and long hours in the woods. Admittedly at times putting a severe crimp in the fishing. But since I almost always roomed or camped out on the various properties the fishing was seldom more than few steps away.

While much of it is starting to blur badly a couple still stand out clearly--even though for the life of me I can't recall the names--sorry but what the hell private anyway so...

The first was a huge (over 2000 acres as I recall) mountain estate not far from the office. I never met the owner but as luck would have it his manager and I hit it off from the start. With a standing invite to fish anytime as you might expect I took full advantage every chance. The stream was one those really pretty mountain cricks, studded with huge rocks, deep crystalline pools and runs no trout in his right mind could resist. Better still, unlike many mountain cricks suffer inadequate summer flows and low fertility--this one ran pretty good even in the driest times and while no where near the high quality limestone streams of central PA, as Pocono waters went ranked pretty darn high.

One day in early June I got back to the office early enough to get the day's paper work in order, made myself an early burger and headed for the crick. As I drove up the mountain alongside the crick suddenly the windshield was covered with bugs--zillions caddis crawling all about the windshield and swarming over the road. Stopping above a big pool below was a sight to behold! End to end, side to side rising trout and of course since it was hatching caddis they were chasing the rise forms were more like you would imagine chucking rocks. Putting the pedal to floor I sped recklessly to the first turnoff, hopped out, pulled on hip boots, rigged the rod on the fly and...It still ranks as one the bestest, fastest couple hours chucking flies...EV...ER. Honest.

Another evening at a cushy lodge in the Catskills as I dragged my weary (hand planting trees since daylight) butt up the steps to the cabin looked over my shoulder and... The lake was...Boiling.  Countless numbers of what appeared to be really big trout slashing the surface to a froth. Weary hell, I ran to car grabbed my gear and sprinted the hundred yards or so to the canoe rack. Paddling like hell to what appeared somewhat the center of the melee I rigged up--tied on a big bushy fly that sort of mimicked the hatch and...And first cast caught the biggest rainbow I'd ever seen let alone caught. And then I caught another and another and then it got dark and the hatch quit but the trout kept on eating my fly until finally I just reeled up and...So there you have it almost...

Next evening hoping, no, make that expecting, a replay didn't happen...no bugs to speak of, just a few random rises and...skunked! Ditto the next and then I had to leave. A few weeks later I was back again and couldn't wait to get even...Only there for one evening I got two right off the bat--no where near as big but the worst thing two was it...Oh well can't win 'em all, onward and upward....

No comments:

Post a Comment