Saturday, July 13, 2013

Home At Last

Today was the first time in more than a month that I've been able to fish the croton watershed again. It's been a real pleasure to experience so much new water this season, but I've been really missing the home streams I fish the most. I hit the East Branch first thing this morning and had it all to myself. Rare for a weekend. I was wondering why this was until I realized just how bad the mosquitoes are right now. The deet mostly kept them at bay, but I can see why most would pass on all the face biting. Otherwise, the water was cold and the fishing was better than it has been on my last few visits. It felt good to be back. I caught a chunky little rainbow on a hare's ear in the riffles that actually took some drag and a few minutes to land. I also briefly hooked a smallie that jumped about four feet the second I set the hook. I didn't mind so much when it spit out the nymph on the way down, it was an impressive move. There were the usual stockie browns too, but none were above average in any way. And a couple perch- funny how the summer brings out so much variety. 

I packed up and headed over to the West Branch, mostly just to see how it's faring in the heat. Not so well, unfortunately. I didn't have a thermometer to get a reading, but  the water felt way too warm to fish safely. Nobody was fishing there, fortunately for the trout, but that only made it harder to walk away without getting my line wet. I really hope whatever work is being done wraps up soon and this great stream can be restored to actual tail water again and not a place to avoid. 

Next stop: the Amawalk. I drove up near the dam, looking for low temperatures. What a difference. Even the air felt cooler and there was a layer of mist to complete that mountain stream vibe. And no mosquitoes, oddly enough. I went back to that tiny plunge pool where I caught a nice brown on my last visit. I crept up,  flicked a double nymph rig into the foam and it was immediately tugged down. I felt the weight of a nice fish, but was more amused than disappointed to quickly see that a sunfish and a crappie had each taken a nymph. Now that was unexpected. I didn't even know the Amawalk held crappie. Every cast after that one yielded another small panfish. I doubt that big brown would allow so much company in such tight quarters. I figured it had moved on so I did the same. I walked quite a ways downstream and caught a couple small browns before doubling back. It felt great to visit my favorite stream again, but it had been a long day. With a lot of variety.