Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed like things just weren't meant to be, one that beckoned for a decision to either throw in the towel or push on? I think any of us that have spent much time in the outdoors have, probably many of them.
I had such a time last week, when a good friend and I fished a mountain trout stream in northwestern Pennsylvania. Rumor had it that the creek contained not only native brook trout and wild browns, but wild rainbows as well. Wild rainbows are quite rare in Pennsylvania. If we were to do the trip any time soon it would have to take place before February's conclusion, as Pennsylvania regulations stated the stream would be off limits to fishing the start March, a restriction enforced until mid April.
No trout showed themselves during the first couple of hours. We'd just about concluded (or rationalized) that the water was too cold — the stream still had lots of ice lining the slower spots — or perhaps the fish weren't there. Then Tom spotted a nice trout. A few minutes later I had one follow my Panther Martin spinner right to the bank; just enough motivation, at a time when we were considering calling it an early day, to keep moving upstream. So on and around streamside blow downs, alder thickets and beaver dams we went.
Ultimately Tom hooked and landed a nice 11-inch wild brown trout on a small cone-headed Wooly Bugger. Our catch per effort ratio wasn't great, but given the splendid surroundings — a hemlock enclosed valley and sapphire blue skies — the day was an absolute success. We'd made trout contact, the objective of the trip, establishing a foundation for a trip at a later date under warmer conditions. We wouldn't have accomplished that had we called it an early day.
I've always felt that every outing in the outdoors, if we pay attention, will provide some lesson or cue, even (oftentimes especially) the tougher ones. This day furnished the reminder that success is often just around the next bend, that the sweetest triumphs are the ones worked for the hardest.
|Tom fishing a mountain stream for trout.|