Wild Brown Trout Muddy Meathead

Muddy Meathead

by | Jun 30, 2015 | 13 comments

We slipped our way down the muddy trail in a controlled stumble, just on the edge of going ass-over-teacups into the drink at the end of the line.  The line was a well worn path Dad and I have been down many times before, leading to the top end of a favorite island on a favorite river. We came through the brush to once again meet this water on its own terms.

Muddy.

Not dirty, stained, cloudy, murky or any other of the various terms fishermen use to describe the stages of suspended particles in the flow. Muddy — the worst of the descriptors on the list. Visibility about six inches, at best.

We’ve been through this before. I’d estimate that a full seventy-five percent of our camping trips on this river have been blow-outs. That’s no joke. We’ve been doing this for ten years, and it almost always rains for this trip … a lot.  Often the river gets destroyed the day we get there and starts clearing as we leave. Again, this is not hyperbole. We’ve just not been lucky with river conditions there.

READ: Troutbitten | The River Doesn’t Owe You Anything

wpid-20150624_141906-01.jpeg

wpid-20150624_141915-01.jpeg

So we’ve learned to deal with what we’re given. We find places and ways to fish because Dad is stubborn enough to stick with a plan, and I am (of course) exactly the same way. I like to think of this trait as tenacious, persistent, dedicated conviction. But at its worst we become what wives in our family call obstinate and cranky. Either way, sometimes perseverance pays off . . .

The first day of the trip we traveled over an hour from camp to take a chance on another river. I knew the water was high, but I thought it would be more fishable there.  And it was. We enjoyed good action for a hot summer day, with alternating thunderstorms and sunny skies,  mostly catching wild trout on nymphs, and usually on the edges of faster currents.

20150621_134623

wpid-20150629_124530-01.jpeg

wpid-20150623_185922-01.jpeg

Dad

wpid-img_20150630_081450.jpg

wpid-20150624_170605-01.jpeg

In recent years, the muddy creek hasn’t mattered all that much. Because, for part of the trip, I bring my boys to the mountain for a couple days. And while they love to fish, they enjoy the other things that happen at camp even more, like hiking through ferns, mushroom hunting, flashlight games and campfires. You never can predict what will make the biggest imprint in a young boy’s mind. This time it was tailgate rides on Pappy’s truck.

wpid-20150622_154650-01.jpeg

Bad banana placement. My mistake.

wpid-20150622_161325-01.jpeg

It’s quiet out there. When the truck has stopped and the voices are calmed, the silence in the trees is stunning. Not many moments among the din of modern life come with such a pure absence of commotion. No buzz. No hum of electricity. The nothingness will fill up your soul if you let it.

wpid-20150624_175629-01.jpeg

— — — — — —

And so, after returning the boys to the civilized world, I found myself sliding down that muddy trail with my Dad — two hours of daylight left on the third day of Summer Camp 2015.

The sun came off the water about a half hour in, and the fish stirred a bit. I was still fishing streamers, not only because they matched the water type, but because I’m hip to the strip; because I’m totally committed. Because I’m all in. I’m really tough and really trendy. Because my streamer is bigger than yours, and because we all know the only way to catch large trout is on large streamers. Just kidding.

Actually, I’m mostly a nymph fisherman, but sometimes I keep fishing streamers because I’m stubborn . . . and there it is again.

Things started to happen. I moved two really nice trout — the kind of fish that makes you yell four-letter words as the opportunity vanishes — and I picked up a couple average sized browns. I went over to visit with Dad, and I plopped a few casts next to the bank across from him. He was at the top of the river-left side of the island. I walked across to the far side and waded through the high water by myself, into position to fish a place that’s a little special to the Troutbitten guys. I moved a small fish, then chucked the next cast as close to the water-logged tree stump as I dared.  Strip … drift … strip, strip … drift… strip … BAM!

Momentum carried him to the top of the brown water, and I saw the fish I’ve been waiting for. He swam hard to the tree stump, but with strong 2X I changed his mind. These are the moments fishermen live for. It was the culmination of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed me, and relentless hope against forceful, muddy water.

He took a couple of runs, but considering his size, the fight was short. I surprised him with the net, aided by the cover of muddy water.

upload_-1

Muddy Meathead

Big Boy

It was the best fish I’ve caught since New Year’s Eve.

I sat and watched the moving water grow darker, until the moon reflected across the muddy surface.

I love the water.

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

 

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

What Are You Working On?

What Are You Working On?

It’s a question I ask of my friends and those whom I’ve just met. What are you working on? Because, whether we realize it or not, we’re all working on something.

“What do you do for a living?” is a common small-talk question. But I don’t ask that one much. I save it for later. What do you love? What are you passionate about? And what are you working on? Those are the more interesting queries that get to the core of each person.

So I’ve asked these questions for years. And it surprises me how often the answer is a blank stare. Some people simply don’t know what they love — yet. And that’s alright. Maybe they’re still searching for some passion in life. But inevitably, it’s those who light up with enthusiasm that I connect with. Tell me what you’re into. The topic hardly matters. I can listen for hours to someone who knows their craft from every angle, who understands what they love, why they care about it and what they plan to learn next.

Hardbody

Hardbody

I was driving a small Nissan pickup, halfway down a steep and rocky logging road, somewhere in the Pennsylvania backcountry. The truck crept down a small boulder field of mixed slate and sandstone. And the frame held solid while the suspension complained against larger obstacles. . . . That perfect, hour-long slow climb down a tram road and into the Fields Run valley was the beginning of a wonderful, memorable adventure . . .

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

There’s a world unseen below the surface. The riverbed weaves a course and directs the currents, giving shape to its valley. Water swirls behind rocks. It moves north and south against submerged logs. The stream blends and separates, merges and divides again as vertical columns rise and fall — and all of this in three dimensions. . . . Eventually, knowing and admiring what lies beneath is as easy as seeing what flows above.

What Does He Need?

What Does He Need?

These places change, but they are more constant than shifting, more lasting than fading. The stream that I fished as a boy every April still holds the same trout, and I follow those familiar bends upstream around rocky mountains. Fallen trees have diverted the channels enough to move the main flow twenty yards east or west, but permanence is more powerful. Here, change is minimal. And that’s comforting . . .

. . . He feels it too. And so he’s drawn to the woods, to these places larger than his small life that often seems too big. I’ve been doing the same for forty-three years . . .

. . . But what else does he need?

Sight and Feel

Sight and Feel

While all five senses blend together into the rich, unmatched experience of fishing through woods and water, only two are necessary for catching trout — sight and feel. These two senses combine to tell us a story about each drift. Some of our tactics require both, while others require just one. But take away both sight and feel, and the angler is lost . . .

You Are Troutbitten

You Are Troutbitten

The whole thing started with four fishermen and a long email chain. That quickly became unwieldy, so Sloop and I set up a private message board for our small group of Pennsylvania anglers and titled it, Troutbitten. Each of us invited close friends — trusted fishermen — the kind of guys who could keep a secret, even after a few beers. And for a short while, a small, core group of guys called Troutbitten fished hard and shared their discoveries with one another . . .

What do you think?

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

13 Comments

  1. Read your about page… I Thought the vegetation looked like PA. Good story!

    Reply
  2. Dom in my opinion the stories are your best work. I can recall there being writing like this in Field and Stream when I was younger and always appreciated how those stories evoked the excitement in me, just like this one did. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading, John.

      Reply
  3. Great story Dom. But what about this tease…”It was the culmination of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed me”? ( By the way, if you hadn’t mentioned the banana 95% of the readers probably wouldn’t have noticed. Tip: It’s better to explain your faux pas after the fact than to draw attention to them at the get-go. Ask your Dad.) And I hope you realize I’m pulling your leg!

    Reply
    • Nice.

      Reply
  4. Great read .. awesome brown too.

    Reply
    • It was a fun fish.

      Reply
  5. Dom where’s the discussion of a new streamer pattern, a new rig that Burke showed you?

    Reply
    • It’s not yet written down, brother.

      Reply
  6. Dominic, this story is great! Made me laugh out loud twice…banana comment and the hip to the strip streamer fishing paragraph. What is it with steamer fishing!?!?! I guess if I got better at it I’d get it more. You’ve certainly got it figured out. I caught a big cutthroat on the snake a long time ago with high muddy water. Such a great feeling. You captured it well! Thanks.

    Reply
  7. What a nice story – fishin’ & family. With a great happy ending!
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Great story. I wished night fishing was legal after dark on most trout streams in VA. I’ve tried it once before I found out it was illegal. Had a few bumps on my mouse in a pool known to hold huge stockers rainbows. I’ll keep looking for new opportunities. Keep it up.

    Reply
  9. Great post, great site and you’ve opened new vistas, while eviscerating previous assumptions. And… fine photography.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

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

Recent Articles

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.

Pin It on Pinterest