Last year we got into fish. Maybe a dozen six-to-ten-pound lake-run soupbones that had a mind to break our ankles before we even took a step trying to chasing them. Yea, we had a good day. My boys still talk about those rainbows. But this morning, crossing the bridge just up from the lake-mouth of the creek, any thoughts of pulling off a repeat performance vanished.
Low. And clear as a damn bell.
Yesterday’s report was that the creek was high and stained. The four days from opening day leading up to yesterday, even more so. And of course, the fish were throwing themselves like spotted silver-pink haymakers at anybody standing within spitting distance of the creek, let alone actually fishing. Today, on the other hand, my friend Jason and I were looking at bluebird skies and temps wandering toward the mid-fifties. And we were now a full week past the melting of our last typical late-March dump of snow. Thus, low. And clear as a damn bell.
It didn’t take long to figure out that whatever trout had bullied their way upstream in the days before had pretty much spent whatever mojo the creek had. We spotted maybe about a dozen fish as we hiked upstream plying runs and pools without even a sniff. Every last one was nose-down and parked as close to the fast, churning-white head of their lie as possible. Eventually, as the rising sun crawled down the southeast-facing shale walls and into the current, there was little to no place for any of us to hide, so the fish just kept their lips zipped and went about their shadow-like way, drifting away in direct response to every step we took, every roll cast we unrolled. We worked the full mile to the falls at the head of the gorge, turned and fished the mile back down.
Thankfully, we packed a few creekside beers. Add the warmest sun we’ve had in a long, cold time here in Upstate NY and a fat peanut butter & honey sandwich — and I was more than fine with letting today’s fishlessness slide in favor of re-living last year’s glorious mayhem, until I get out next.