Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April at Its Finest

I left the studio yesterday morning at 9:00 setting off to explore a small trout stream I had not fished since I was a youngster. My calls to fishing partners the day before were unsuccessful, so I was on my own... and that was okay. The solitude would offer me the luxury of moving at my own pace, poking along the stream banks and lingering as the mood dictated.
Soon after I left the truck, the morning sun had warmed the countryside enough to make my fleece jacket unnecessary. I stuffed it into my daypack and started looking for trout.
It's funny how I can get distracted from the task at hand on days like this. Wildflowers carpeted the brushy stream banks and I found myself spending quite a bit of time photographing them. Trout lilies, spring beauty, and large toothwort (I think) were thriving in the rich soil of the valley floor. I happily crawled along the wet muddy ground shooting photo after photo.

Trout lily
Large toothwort

Caddis flies along the stream
With that out of the way, I got back to trout fishing. There were clouds of caddis flies hovering above the water. The streamside brush was covered with them. It wasn't long before I caught my first fish... a large fat brook trout that made me smile as I popped the hook from its jaw and let it swim away. That was a very good start!

Rainbow trout
The trout, mostly rainbows, were finicky. I fished long stretches of spectacular water without a sign of a fish, then happen upon a spot where I'd catch one and maybe miss another. The lengthy distances between fish contacts were puzzling. I don't feel like I ever really figured the fish out, so every time I managed to hook one, it seemed like I accomplished something.
One of many deer along the stream
The wildlife activity along the stream made me think the critters were enjoying the warm sun as much as me. Deer would wander up to me as I stood in the middle of the stream before realizing I was there. Turkeys scurried through the skunk cabbage. Ruffed grouse flushed ahead of me offering only a glimpse as they winged through the dense undergrowth. At one point, a sharp-shinned hawk nearly took my hat off as it zipped by.
This morning, my sore legs are a reminder of a great day afield. I can get back to my work in the studio with a renewed enthusiasm. Time to get busy!

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