So it’s been a Troutbitten theme lately to do the unusual instead of the doing the usual. Burke started it a few months ago with “Out of the Ordinary October,” and I think most of us jumped on the wagon and haven’t gotten off. It’s a good wagon.
If you are into counting fish then banging the same runs every time you go out is probably your best bet, but that’s never really been my game, and exploration is at the pulsing heart of why I fish so much in the first place. On many of these local watersheds, I have, at one point in time, covered every open section of water from the mouth to the headwaters, and I’ve reveled in the discovery of each new pocket and riffle. I’ve learned to savor the search of what lies around the bend, because eventually you get to the last bend, the last legal access or the last island. And then there’s nothing new left on the water. That can be a somber moment.
But the marvelous thing about central Pennsylvania is that you could spend a lifetime casting lines across these waters and never find the last stretch to fish upstream of where you’ve already been. Most blue lines around here are complimented by wild trout, often browns, and usually gorgeous.
And as much as I love the discovery of new water, I’m equally enamored with the memories that become attached to a piece of water each time I fish it. Fishing memories run deep. When I wade up past the wooden bridge, it’s startling how easy it is to recall that my father hooked a good fish just off the left bank in the soft slick behind the moss-covered rock. Size 16 olive nymph off a tag. ….. And we just smiled in the summer sun.
It was a weekday morning, I had only a couple of hours for fishing, and I walked into what I call the Last Good Island on the first river that I ever fished from top to bottom. Like most of my favorite places, there weren’t many lost flies stuck in the tree branches or boot tracks in the mud. I usually nymph, but on this day I decided to do the unusual, and I tied on a streamer. Then I made some new memories.