Walking

by | Jun 1, 2018 | 3 comments

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 could 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 had 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.

 

** Donate ** If you enjoy this article, please consider a donation. Your support is what keeps this Troutbitten project funded. Scroll below to find the Donate Button. And thank you.

 

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 1000+ 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

Just Boys Fishin’

Just Boys Fishin’

Gonna let the pictures tell most of the story today. We've been enjoying the cooler weather in the last month or so, and the boys have been putting a twelve foot Tenkara rod to good use. My parents bought the rod for the boys' birthdays, and the length of the rod,...

Night Shift – The Porcupine

Night Shift – The Porcupine

So I was startled, but not surprised, when something heavy hit my legs in the dark around midnight. Fishing to the banks upstream while standing in the swift middle current, the hefty thump happened so fast that it was past me and downstream before I could move. That was too soft to be a log, I thought.

I flipped on my headlamp and looked downstream to see a porcupine returning my wide-eyed gaze. His head turned, and he glared back, as if the hit-and-run was somehow my fault. I almost expected him to flash a middle finger, but I guess he needed both paws for swimming . . .

Night Shift – Into the Dark

Night Shift – Into the Dark

You can't stand up to the night until you understand what's hiding in its shadows.  -- Charles De Lint Last June I made a commitment. I promised myself that I would go deep into the night game and learn to catch the wildest trout in the darkest hours. Having spent a...

Admiration

Admiration

Not many fish allow you to break off a fly on the hookset while they still take another fly just five minutes and three drifts later. It takes a special kind of stupid for that to happen.

Pat spread the mustard lightly this time. And the joy of all children, April fishermen, spinnies and hobbyists was firmly hooked.

This is the End

This is the End

And then . . . the line . . . broke. Silence filled the valley when echoes of his exasperation finished the chorus.

The fisherman’s hands were wet and shaking as he doubled over. He surrendered to the surface fog and knelt from the heavy punch to his gut.

Muddy Meathead

Muddy Meathead

. . . 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 . . .

What do you think?

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

3 Comments

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

    Reply
  2. Your technique articles make me think. Your stories go to my heart. I enjoy both but only the stories make me smile.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

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

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

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