Monday, May 30, 2011

Arriving early. Staying late.

I arrived early for dinner on Saturday. In fact, that's not entirely correct. I arrived in the neighborhood, early. Now I wish I could say that I struggled with the social indelicacies of the early arrival of a guest and to what imposition I may put my host. But instead, I wondered, immediately, where the nearest trout stream was located and whether it was possible, in 30 minutes, to drive to, fish and return from said trout stream.

The navigation system told me I could get to the nearest stream in 15 minutes. With a return trip that meant I could fish for 15 minutes. Being 15 minutes late to a dinner appointment being, of course, socially acceptable.

I know you're all wondering how one fishes for fifteen minutes. The answer is that one does not.

I had not fished this stream before but had been told of its riches. In fact, it was rumored that poachers fished its banks out of season risking ticketing and worse just to sample its goodness.

Upon arrival at a bridge crossing I discovered the stream was every bit as lovely as I had been told. Downstream a large slow bend pool cut deeply into the forested banks with the requisite shallow, sandy slope on the inside. At the foot of this stream-side beach a father and son sat chucking wads of "trout dough" deeply into the run. They said the fishing was good. A fish made a splashy rise as if to accent the point.

Upstream the was a series of pockets and riffles that were too tempting not to fish and so I did. For late spring, this was a perfect summer evening. Short sleeves. Wading wet in water that was only cold enough to refresh and not cold enough to numb. Enough bugs to let you know the fish were on them but not those annoying #24 BWO hatches that would soon be driving dry fly guys nuts.

I nymphed a bit until a fish taking a swat at my indicator told me to switch. The nymph had brought fish to the hand and now the dry yielded nothing. Perhaps those fish are craftier than I originally thought.

Knowing my fifteen minutes were long up I wandered back to the road in time to see the father and son packing it in. Between them they had six fish which was two over the limit for this water. I even glimpsed a taking of pictures with the boy posing in heroic fashion with a string of fish. I'm so glad I witnessed this passing of the poaching ritual from father to son. Such a tender moment worthy of Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post. And a Conservation Enforcement Officer.

Now I had the truest of quandaries. I was easily 30 minutes late to dinner at this point. My cell phone was in the car. The light was starting to go. A sweet piece of water was devoid of fisherpersons. The fish were splashing in the pool in that "chasing caddis" sort of way and there was a large spinner swarm of mayflies in the air. And, I was dining with a fellow piscator.

I knew he would understand.

So I crossed over the guardrail and slipped down the path to the water.

The fish in the bend pool refused my dry fly presentations in myriad ways. I then switched to a Caddis Pupa and picked up a few including a beautiful, eight inch, wild Brook Trout.

The spinners were now swarming closer to the water getting ready to deposit themselves upon its surface. With barely enough light to see the fly and the tippet I spent five minutes tying on a large Rusty Spinner and then cast for another ten minutes to fish that clearly were not interested in spinner but instead were still keyed on the caddis.

And then the light was gone.

And I needed to get to this very late dinner appointment.

And the flicker of a bonfire called to me.

And I went to it.

Bonfire of The Inanities

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