June 1, 2018

It started with a walk. When the short gravel-to-dirt trail melted into weeds and underbrush, I followed the narrowing path into the woods. And when that too ended beside the small river, I cut to the right and forged my own trail beside the water’s edge.

Abundant cold rains and a cloudy spring season had postponed much of the life to be found in mid May, and I noted the delay everywhere. I walked through budding ferns, with expectant tops waiting to unfold at the next peak of sunlight through the shadows. And where there was green, it was new — fresh-faced, clear and vibrant, standing out in contrast against the dark wet bark and a forest floor of decaying maple leaves.

And after walking for miles over those wet leaves drenched with weeks of rain, I finally remembered the fly rod in my hand.

It wasn’t hard to find a piece of perfect water. The river flowed at the peak of what it can hold and still be called fishable. And yet the color remained murky — not quite dirty — and well suited to hiding the casts and the moving silhouette of a fisherman.

The pockets and undercuts were full of eager fish, no doubt undisturbed by the usual springtime crowd of anglers. The fair weather fishermen had mostly remained home in these long months, waiting for the rain to pause. All the while these trout fed with abandon, seizing their opportunity for an easy feed and full bellies.

The fishing was fast enough that I moved upstream quickly. Instead of holding to a spot where trout rose for my fly, I followed a desire to explore and learn where else they may rise. And I walked.

The rain started again, just as I broke through a dense canopy of towering hemlocks. Then I skirted the edge of a long narrow clearing and watched sheets of rain slice through a low shelf of fog ten feet above the grassy earth.

It rained, and I kept walking.

It felt solemn. But I found fulfillment in the somber tone. The rain rolled down my hat and seeped under the thick collar of my vest, until eventually, also waterlogged, the collar gave up its job as gatekeeper, and cool streams of water ran down the skin of my back.

I kept walking because the river pulled me along with its endless mystery — what exactly is around the next bend? Under a heavy rain and around the fallen timber of a wide floodplain, I made a steady pace, with no destination in mind but upstream.

Then finally, hours later and at the end of something I’ll never understand, I knew I was done. Satisfied, I walked out under clearing skies, with a strong spring sun making its space over the western horizon.


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


Click here for details.



Read More Troutbitten Stories

What do you think?

1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
  Follow the comments on this article.  
Notify of
Bob Garman

Thanks, nice story! Felt like I was there. There’s just something about walking in the woods and fishing a stream in solitude.

Domenick Swentosky

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.

Dry-Dropper brookies club fishing saltwater camera Streamers Wild vs Stocked Mystery mistakes stinky bass dead drift LBI posted land hiking Discovery montana patience Presentations dog beadhead silence dry flies Stockies Dylan mono rig drifting night-sighter tight line nymphing Plans angler types One Great Tip suspender fishing fly rod swinging wet flies home-stream Grandfather ice Backing Barrel come on man Streamer fishing skunked rookies Headbanger Sculpin Christmas Lights DJS split shot It's just fishing Jeff Resources Tippet Rings dorsey yarn indicator Davy Wotten Fly Casting PSA boys Baseball winter fly fishing summer Harvey Pusher George Harvey brush fishing photography dry fly fishing rules Bad Mother the Mono Rig Trust Central PA Big Trout George Daniel safety tenkara Weather high water favorite simplicity nymphing tips Namer TU Spring Creek How it Started brown trout fly tying spot burning fly box reading water tracks History Night Fishing Chapters big brown trout leaders net last cast winter fishing snags Sawyer giveaway fishing with kids casting winter Wild Mushrooms Floating flies fall Burke river Wild Brown Trout wet fly fishing Doh droppers tippet regulations etiquette musician Quote Dad Pennsylvania public land Whiskey Drinker wet wading mayfly traction Rich Night Fishing Trout Unlimited indicator nymphing tightline spawning front ended gear trout bum Fish Hard drop shot nymphing comp fishing small streams tiny flies friendship explore Whiskey cookout Buggers Float Fishing Troutbitten Fly Box Night Oakiewear fly line thunderstorm mud float Gierach indicator fishing tight lining Camping DIY PFBC fly patterns marginal water nymphs bite windows flood wild trout friends philosophy Fifty Tips fluke strategy solitude PA Gold backcast DHALO Grobe falling in nymphing rigs streamside bar boots surf fishing summertime fishing Little Juniata River shark Sighter efficiency BES Ask an Expert Aiden carp Orvis Joey Peace knots wading conservation Boat science matters stocked trout fighting fish big fish travel fly fsihing backcountry Galloup mousing walking wading boots tips catch and release Euro-Nymphing Press fishing tips Fly rods time waders Industry Stuff Fly Fishing wildlife Memories family