So somehow this weekend the planets aligned and brought three corners of the country together, Alaska, New Mexico and New York, on two amazing streams of central Pennsylvania to do a little pre-season trout fishing. I got a call on friday morning that good friends Sam Snyder and Ben Casarez were traveling up from northern Virginia to do a little fishing, so I packed everything up friday evening and hit the road saturday morning early. The last time the three of us were together with rods in hand was about five years ago when Me and Sarah, my wife, and Sam and Ben went up to Alaska to see friends and fish for ten days. It was great to be able to all be in the same water again, and the four hour drive was definitely worth it. I made it to the Yellow Breeches at about 11:00, geared up and walked down to find the others. It was a great piece of water, and was all catch and release due to the section and the early season fishing, and there were a fair amount of other anglers on the stream. Despite the pressure on the water from other fishers, we were pleased to find a number of trout that were compliant with us. Lots of Rainbows and a few Brook trout made their way to hand and started the day off right.
The other nice addition to the morning was the fact that the new three weight that had been completed mere days before was the rod that I had in hand, and christened it on those Pennsylvania waters. It cast like a dream, with accuracy and delicacy, once I worked out the first spring day on the water bush snags and wind knots, and got to feel it bend under the weight of it's first Brook trout. I can't wait to see the pictures Ben took of it bent right over and the smile on my face. It is pretty satisfying to catch a fish on a hand tied, and actually designed by myself, and a hand built rod.
We fished the Yellow Breeches for a few hours, made a quick lunch and a beer at the side of the stream and then decided to head over to the Letort for a while. This was a treat to be certain, and the Letort is legendary in terms of trout streams both for it's history of conservation, and it's place in the development of dry fly fishing and design as a sport. This was a true spring creek, meaning that it's source is spring fed from numerous springs along the length of the creek, and was classically picturesque. Due to the slow moving deep waters of the Letort, the trout that inhabit the waters have grown accustomed to the food sources and bugs that pass by them daily. They have time to look, scrutinize and select their meals which makes it hard for those of us floating little "bug puppets" (in the words of John Gierach) by their noses. Spring creeks tend to also have silty bottoms making it impossible to wade to get to fish. The above photo was taken by Sam, and shows a small Blue Winged Olive on his sunglasses. They were about the size of a pinky nail, and we were fishing with size 20 and 22 versions of these flies. Because if the cautiousness of the fish in determining their food sources, presentation of the fly has to be perfectly placed in front of the rising trout without spooking it and timed appropriately with the rising feeding action of the fish. Sam was the man on this one and brought two rainbows to hand. It was for sure a humbling experience and a chance to fish one of the toughest situations I've been up against. Hopefully the three corners of the country will find there way back onto the same piece of water soon, as these two friend are truly brothers to me. Thanks for the invite and congratulations to Ben on the upcoming wedding.
Sam on the Letort
Ben and I observing the Letort from above.