Last Good Island

by | Dec 7, 2014 | 1 comment

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.


Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

VIDEO: The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

VIDEO: The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of Troutbitten videos, in collaboration with Wilds Media. The journey begins with a video adaptation of, “The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything.” This story has been a Troutbitten favorite since it was published in the spring of 2019. . . . The river gives you what you need. The river gives you what you earn.

The Secret

The Secret

There are two kinds of secret places, I suppose: one’s that are truly tucked away somewhere unknown, and ones that lies right underneath a fisherman’s nose. This place harbors a little of both . . .



Smith and I hopped the guardrail as traffic whizzed by at sixty miles an hour. Smith went first, with his rod tip trailing behind, and he sliced through the brush like a hunter. I followed with probably too much gear for a three hour trip and a puppy in my arms. River is our family’s eleven week old Australian Shepherd, and with a name like that, he has no choice but to become a great fishing dog. Time on the water will do it . . .

Aiden’s First Brown Trout

Aiden’s First Brown Trout

Hundreds of times Aiden has snagged the bottom, pulled the rod back, and either asked me if that was a fish or has told me flatly, “I think that was a fish.”  This time, he finally experienced the certainty that a couple of good head shakes from a trout will give you . . .

Waves and Water

Waves and Water

. . . But when all of that dries up, when the travel seems too long, when dawn comes too early and when chasing a bunch of foot-long trout seems like something you’ve already done, then what’s left — always — is the river . . .

The Foundation

The Foundation

There is tranquility and stillness here — a place to do nothing but think. And that alone is valuable. Because there aren’t many places like this left in the world . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

1 Comment

  1. Nice fish, and a very well written article! What part of central PA do you fish? I’m originally from Selinsgrove, but moved down to Virginia where I started fly fishing. This weekend, however, I’m moving back up to Lock Haven, PA. I love fishing mountain streams, are there any you’d recommend near Lock Haven?

    Maybe we can get together and fish sometime!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest