Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day Trippin' Renewed

After fishing the trib where I caught my first native brook trout during my WV Trout Bum adventure in early June, this stream has been on my mind since.

The weekend before, I spent a day hiking the extreme headwaters of this watershed; taking in the fall colors and catching brookies above the lake named after the main stem stream. Here are a couple of shots from the hike and a couple of brookies:

The above shot is from the Snowshoe Resort fire tower, looking down the Shavers Fork watershed toward Spruce.

The beginning of Shavers Fork below Shavers Lake.

Shavers Lake and couple of small brookies from tiny Shavers Fork above the lake.

That day hike did two things for me: One, remind me I need to update my hiking blog and two, put the Upper Shavers bug back in my brain.
So...with vacation days to burn and work driving me to GET AWAY, I made a day trip to where it all started for me.
I had planned on doing the trip solo but I got a text from a young friend whom I haven't fished with since our mega-roadtrip in 2010. Three years, where has the time gone?!
The day started well before daylight and 3-1/2 hours later we were at the end of an 11-mile, dead-end, dirt road. It was 37 degrees when we got out of the vehicle - a great day to wet wade!
After two miles of railroad it was time to hit the water. What a beautiful fall day!

As I strung up the rod and tied on my dry/dropper rig, I reflected on the beauty of the Upper Savers area.

The air was brisk, the water was cool, and the "catching" was slow. We did manage a few small brookies and Nathan landed the first small, wild rainbow of the day.

Shortly after he landed his first wild rainbow, I landed my one (and only) rainbow of the day.

I know the camera never captures the true colors of the real experience and the photo of that rainbow was no different. That rainbow had a golden tint to it - it reminded me of the Kern River rainbows Nathan and I caught on that small trib of the Kern during our California Heritage Trout Challenge expedition.
As I catch wild rainbows in my explorations of blue lines, I often wonder the origin of the hatchery strains from which they came. This is why I do what I do!
As I mentioned the fishing was slow and I was disappointed to not see any paired up brookies doing their fall dance. Maybe in this "connected" trib they return to the main stem to do their dance??
As the temperatures (water and air) warmed up we started picking up small brookies on top - but no size.

I'm not sure where all of the larger brookies were hiding on this day, but that's OK, in the name of Henry David Thoreau:
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after".
I did have a goal for this day, which is something I don't typically do. I wanted to make it to a feeder trib that a friend had told me about over a glass of home-made wine.
We made it to the small trib and found small brook trout hanging out in nearly every small pool. The stream was high gradient - I love fishing like this!

After scrambling up this small trib a short distance, I knew time on the stream and the day was winding to a close.
It was 2-hour hike back to the vehicle, with the first 1-1/2 being bushwhacking...there's no trail here!
When we got back to the car, I was beat, but it was a good beat down. The refreshing feeling of being miles from nowhere, and adding another blue line to my personal life list is what it's all about!
I may not get another opportunity to get out this fall, if not, this was as good as any to end the season with.