Here’s a quick look at the great day we had in NW PA last week.
I am often amazed at the ease I find in getting out of bed at some ridiculous hour so that I might go fishing. The alarm will often blare at an hour in which many people are mid way through their nightly slumber. In my house, the early alarm is often followed by a slight groan from my wife. The groan is meant to voice both her displeasure with the noise, and her thoughts of my stupidity for getting out of bed at such an ignorant hour. I know that she believes I’m an idiot. I am okay with that. I am awake to face the world and all of the fish that I might find.
This trip would call for an early departure. At 3 a.m., the alarm blaringly reminded me that it was time to wash my face, brush my teeth and wake my son. We had a three and a half hour drive drive ahead of us, and we still needed to stop to get Mike. I must admit that a 3 a.m. fishing trip is much easier to deal with than a 6 a.m. ride to work. With Mike in tow and Matthew settled in for the rest of his nightly nap, we headed north and east in search of a few willing trout.
The ride through the darkness was both pleasant and uneventful. Out of the darkness, the rising sun slowly stirred its gradual glow over the fog filled valleys and the lavender landscape of northwestern Ohio. It was a beautiful morning, and the anticipation of both good fishing and better company made it easy to forget our sacrifices of sleep.
We planned to meet to Larry, my long time fishing friend, on a stream that he and I had fished heavily in the past. This is a special stream to me. It is not the most beautiful place on earth. The fishing there has never been truly spectacular, but it is a place where I learned to sight fish for rising trout. Larry and I had spent countless days on this stretch of water. It was my classroom in the early days of my dry fly fishing experience. I was excited to finally get a chance to share this water with some of my favorite friends and especially with my son Matthew.
It has been well over twelve years since my last visit to this little mountain freestone creek. Much of it has changed, and yet, much of it was still the same. There were fewer trout than I remember, and the streamside paths were much more well-worn. However, the familiarity was both welcome and wonderful. I found myself thankful for the chance to return.I was content and satisfied just to be there. It was wonderful to reflect on the many memories that I found there. It was even more rewarding watching my teenage son find the success and enjoyment that this stream had afforded me on so many occasions.
The morning ended with a great streamside meal of fried chicken and potato salad. We shared stories around a random picnic table before returning to the water for a few more fish. By late afternoon, we were all satisfied with the time, the place, the fishing, the company and the many new memories that we had created. It was time to say goodbye. It was nice to return to something from my past that had not filled itself with disappointment. The little stream had lived up to my exaggerated memories and for that, I was grateful.
*As for the stories of the fish that we caught, I will let Mike share some of that with you.