Sunday, May 26, 2013

Why I Fish - Reason 1

I recently took my annual trip for our local TU chapter campout. For the last five years, the Friday of this outing has been spent with my good friend and WVU professor, Rick.

The first two years of this (now) annual tradition was a 10-mile trek into the Seneca backcountry. The third year water was up so we didn't make the long hike, instead I showed him a couple of my other favorite waters. Then, last year, he decided he would rather fish one of those streams. It was hard to believe it had been three years since Rick and I had been in the backcountry.

This year, we found ourselves planning the Seneca backcountry trip again. This year we would shuttle a vehicle to the top of the backcountry, make our usual gruelling hike over Allegheny Mountain, then fish our way out the gentle grade trail to the top - avoiding the brutal hike out after fishing all day.

Also different this year, we would have a couple of friends joining us. One of these friends would be (Don)  an old college friend that I've only seen a few times over the last 25 years.

We were up early, took care of the shuttle vehicle at the top, and soon found ourselves heading up the mountain on Horton trail. It's been a long time since my college friend and I have actually just talked and the hike in was all conversation  - it was nice to catch up! However, things did get pretty quiet when we got near the crest of Allegheny Mountain, as the final quarter mile feels straight up.

More good conversation ensued on the downhill section of the trail and before we knew it we were unloading our packs and getting ready to hit the water. Don and Rick getting the day started:

I took the first good looking run, while the others spread out upstream. I always catch a nice rainbow or brookie here - not this day. Although I struck out in the first run, it didn't take long to land my first brookie of the day.

After I got the day started off right with a nice, little native brookie, I caught up to Don and he invited me to share a nice pod of rising rainbows.

Don landed a nice little rainbow, stepped to the side, and allowed me to do the same. The day was looking good early!

This day was going to be outstanding,sharing one of my favorite sections of stream (anywhere) with two good friends.

We had five miles of stream and trail to cover, and even with four of us "hop scotching", that's a lot of water to cover - so we moved fast. However, I couldn't pull myself away from probably my favorite spot in West Virginia - the upper falls of Seneca Creek.

I snapped off several photos of the falls, caught a few wild/native fish, then moved on to catch the crew. When I finally caught up with them, they were watching Rick's brother-in-law working a nice pool. He landed one of the nicer fish of the day, a beautiful Seneca wild rainbow.

Over the next few hours I took more photos on the stream than I have in years. I found myself watching my friends work the water as I trailed with the camera out.

I could help but wonder when the three of us would be on the water together again. Rick and I seem pretty committed to making our annual outing happen every year. I hope we can get Don out with us again in the future.

When I wasn't snapping off photos of Don and Rick in the same frame, I was taking shots of some amazing water.

I didn't only take photos, I did pretty well with the rod too!

When we got to Judy Springs, a primary source of Seneca Creek, I knew we had three miles to the trailhead. It was new territory for Rick and they took turns heckling me as I fished for a couple of risers below the foot bridge.

After I whiffed at a couple of strikes, we took Rick over to see the springs. It's one of the largest spring heads I know about in West Virginia.

This was all new territory for Rick and it's nice to introduce friends to the sites that you hold near and dear to your heart. I've personally only fished above the springs on one other occasion, so I was going to hit new water myself.

The fishing didn't slow down above the springs. I walked up on another pool of risers, and in back-to-back drifts I landed these two guys.

The rainbow was my largest of the day and he was very dark - his mouth was actually black.

Then I made a couple more drifts for good measure and landed another little brookie.

By this time of the day we were covering water quickly, with a couple of miles still remaining to the trailhead. I was nearly done for the day, just watching everyone else work the water.

I caught Don landing one in this nice pool. On the tail of a drift, he landed one as he was about to lift his fly for another cast. I told him it almost looked like an accident.

I picked a nice little run next to the trail and landed one more little rainbow on the day.

Nobody in the crew wanted to end this day but when the skies opened up, they all packed up their rods and prepared for the final hike out. We had another two miles to the trailhead but everyone had commitments they had to meet that evening - as we all do in life.

Once we got to the trailhead, it was time to just hang out and laugh at each other. The day seemed to fly by but we had actually been out for nearly ten hours. It was also nice to just sit around and talk. I enjoy that almost as much as the fishing - ALMOST.

Why do we fish?

One of the main reasons I fish is the camaraderie. I enjoy sharing the water and scenery of where we find wild and native salmonids with friends. I particularly like it when it is new scenery for my friends.

I hope I have many more outings with Don and Rick - and all of my other fishing friends!


1 comment:

Lester Kish said...

Lots of pretty photos of pretty little fish. They seem to be extremely well behaved. How do you keep them from squirming for the photos? Regards.