No Fishing

Now there’s a sign I never want to see! They always seem to appear next to a truly inviting stretch of water. There are fish rising beyond some of them, obvious spots with great cover and some depth, the ones where the prevailing current carries everything right down and concentrates it where that cover meets that deeper water, screaming big fish here! Those signs have been up for most of the last week, not man’s, but Mother Nature’s.

We needed rain and some relief from the heat, and we got it. Trouble is we keep getting it; not the gentle showers that soak in and really do the rivers some good, top to bottom in the watershed, but the heavy downpours that muddy the rivers and add to the silt load our riverbeds can do without.

Last night was a doozy, a serious storm packing a tornado warning, coming right down the pipe with Hancock in it’s sights. The cell phones went off with ten minutes to spare, and the TV was immediately switched from the Home Run Derby to the Weather Channel: Severe thunderstorm south of Deposit and moving East at 20 mph likely to spawn tornadoes. Rotation observed on radar, seek shelter immediately! The weather map showed the updated storm track, reaching from Balls Eddy to Stockport, and there were some very tense moments ahead, particularly when the Fire Department’s siren went off as the storm hit us full force. Thankfully, that rotation observed on radar never materialized into a funnel cloud on the ground. A lot more to worry about than some lost fishing time there.

This morning has been about giving thanks and wondering if I’ll find some fishing sometime this week. This whacky season has already pushed me into some crazy days at the bench.

Beetlemania: I pulled out a bunch of wild colors and tied something different, beetles in green, orange and insect green, along with a thing loosely inspired by a caterpillar. With mayflies and caddis seemingly absent, gotta find something to wake ’em up!

Wild colors do appear in Nature. Back in the Cumberland Valley, where terrestrials powered the bulk of our dry fly fishing in the limestone meadows, I used to tie a very bright orange ant pattern. I blended up a special dubbing and tied the fly in a size 18 with a white CDC wing. It was reserved for particularly difficult fish, and it often proved the charm for catching them. Catskill trout are not keyed in upon terrestrials the way our spring creek trout were in those meadows – I still haven’t found any hopper fishing – but with a paucity of traditional aquatic fare, I hope they come around. Maybe an orange foam beetle will look tasty to a big Catskill brown, or perhaps that caterpillar thing will spark some interest.

Actually, a post storm day should be a good time to tie on a Letort Cricket and pound the river banks, as the rush of runoff water can put a lot of food in the drift. Once the rivers clear a bit, I am going to try to get the boat in the water, and there will be crickets in my fly box! I think I’ll get tying…

The late Ed Shenk with a fresh from the vise sample of one of his signature flies, the Letort Cricket.

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