Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why I Fish - Reason 2

On day two of my weekend I found myself solo, which I've found is sometimes best for what I had planned.

I know of only one or two other guys who enjoy "Reason 2" of why I fish. I'm a list guy, a bucket list guy, one who just likes to check streams off. I like to pick out a drainage on the topo and prospect it for brookies and I don't know many other folks who like to do that.

I've lost some of my records beyond 2009, but since then I've caught brook trout in 53 new streams (to me) in West Virginia. If I were to estimate the five years prior to 2009, I would say double that number...and I'm sure I haven't even scratched the surface of West Virginia's brook trout streams.

With that being said, when I left camp I had one (new) stream in mind, but within a couple of minutes I had changed my mind and decided to prospect the tribs of a nearby blue ribbon brookie stream. I plan to hit that original stream when I do some West Virginia trout bummin' the first week in June. This day I would hit one particular little trib that had been on my radar for a couple of years - and check off a couple more while I was in the neighborhood.

The first stream is about mile hike along a USFS road, past a handful of private camps, then another mile of bushwhacking along an abandoned trail. I say "abandoned" because I could see the blue spray paint trail markers on the trees, but there was no trail.

When I finally made it to the mouth, there were brookies rising everywhere in the junction pool. This was a good sign - however the main is top notch by itself.

I crossed the main stem and picked out the first likely looking pool and...add another stream to the list!

He was a sign of reproduction, which is always good. The next likely looking pool produced another age class.

This section of stream was a series of small runs and riffles but when I found a decent pool I landed the largest brookie from my short adventure on this new stream. This guy also appeared to be a third age class.

I landed one more for good measure and with the assurance this is a healthy brook trout stream, I headed back out toward the camps and another small stream I crossed on the way in.

 I mentioned the main stem is a blue ribbon brookie stream, so when I crossed the stream and saw a good looking pocket, I couldn't resist. I was on a tight timeline, but I can always make time for these guys! 

 I could fish this stream all day, every day, and be perfectly content - it's that good. I don't like to do that though. Remember, this is "Reason 2" as to why I fish.

The second little trib of the day was much smaller and the damage from Superstorm Sandy was still evident on this little stream. 

However, it didn't take me long to land another young-of-the-year brookie. 

The fishing was tight but I did manage to land another small brookie from the 2012 brood. Again, a good sign!

Check two streams off, with one to go.

I had waded across this last stream on previous trips, including this day, but had never taken the time to properly prospect it - today that would change.

Just as I had done on the previous two tribs, in short order I added a third stream to my list, and another small brookie.

I stepped up a couple of small runs and picked up my final brookie of the day, and another age class. The brook trout population is strong in this watershed.

I typically don't like staged photos, but when I saw this red-spotted newt perched on the edge of the moss-covered rock where I landed my last brookie, I couldn't help ,myself.

My brookie fly box, 000wt, and Mr. Eft.

In a short, 2-hour span I added three new streams to my list and re-enforced the second reason why I fish.

Reason 1: I fish for the camaraderie, I fish to share amazing places with good friends.

Reason 2: I fish to explore the unknown. Everyone likes a sure thing but there have been books written about "around the next bend". I'm an explorer, that's what I do!

In four days I leave for a week of West Virginia trout bummin'. I'm strapping on a pack and headed to the headwaters of another watershed that has been on my radar for quite some time. Who knows what I will find but one thing is for sure, it will be new water (for me)!


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