Glorious Autumn

Peak autumn colors, low water and the calm of late afternoon sunlight grace the East Branch Delaware

I traveled a bit yesterday, at least I would call it travel as far as this year is concerned, saying hello and goodbye to the storied Neversink in an afternoon. Expecting crowds throughout the season, I had avoided this lovely river since my visit with Matt Supinski last autumn. I had been told the crowds had vanished with the coming of autumn, and I wished to spend at least a few hours where past memories had been made.

NYC has been playing games with reservoir releases of late, and the Neversink has been one of its pawns, dropping to less than 90 cfs, then bounding up to more than 200, before dropping again. I wondered if the trout would be active, though I did not hold out a great deal of hope. With some 237 cfs of flow yesterday, the little river looked grand, clear and cold with the tannin color I expect, but my flies found no takers.

I saw one rise, a significant splash along a windswept grassy bank that recalled last September’s foray. Arriving at water’s edge, I plucked a fat grasshopper from the hood of my car, and told Matt I had expected isonychia mayflies rather then hoppers. He smiled and dug into a fly box, handing me a huge hopper pattern he’d tied with one of Frosty Flies’ realistic bodies. The fly was twice the size of the live hopper on my hood, but I cut back my leader and tied it on, and at Matt’s urging, set about prospecting the hides along the grassy banks upstream.

Working a pocket on an edge where I had taken a chunky brown the previous summer, Matt’s mega hopper disappeared in a heavy swirl and a fine trout bolted into the current, putting a decided bend in my light five strip bamboo rod. After a spirited battle, the Neversink surrendered a beautifully colored wild brown trout of nineteen inches. Moral of the story: if a world class guide and fly angler gives you a fly, fish it; even if it makes you chuckle a bit!

I worked that heavy run with one of my hoppers, two isonychia patterns, and an October caddis. The rise was never repeated, and I must admit I wished I still had Matt’s big hopper in my fly box this time. It would have been nice to tempt another big brownie from the dark, mysterious waters of the Neversink.

Matt has been hard at work preparing the debut of his new online magazine, Hallowed Waters Journal. The first issue is due to arrive today, and I am looking forward to enjoying my friend’s noted flair and creativity. He’s likely in the beginnings of a run of Chinook salmon or Michigan steelhead by now, so I have no doubt his world is a whirl of activity. Wish I was there swinging flies in the mighty Muskegon beside you Matt!

October Chrome from the Mighty Muskegon (photo courtesy Mike Saylor)

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