Not Ready

Take Me Back: Barely two weeks ago I enjoyed a sundrenched eighty degree afternoon on the Beaverkill. As I looked at the golden light of autumn upon the mountain side I knew the season was dying, though I was unwilling to let it go.

Much has changed in that fortnight, I realized that all too clearly as I shivered in the high cold flow of that same river yesterday. The sun was shining when I left Crooked Eddy, but by the time I waded into the elevated flow a squadron of dark storm clouds had gathered above the river and blotted out the sun I had hoped might warm the water and entice a trout to feed. Dawn this morning was below freezing, the first of several such days currently forecast. I am not ready for winter.

My mind still wanders bright water in search of the next rise, as I hunt the dappled sunlight and shade along the river banks. My body longs for the warmth upon my shoulders as I stalk the sunny flats, casting dry flies to pockets of shade and cover. Summer, why have you forsaken me? I feel cheated, robbed of innumerable summer days by high water and un-wadable rivers, and I want those days back to help ease the transition to the coming months of ice, wind and snow! But my pleas will not be answered; my desires shall remain unsatisfied.

Ah but who would not wish to remain wrapped in the glory and wonder of a Catskill summer? No finer season, nor more ideal locale exists for the sporting gentlemen of the dry fly!

I am used to thirty-one glorious days of October, gently transitioning my soul from the drug of summer into the subdued chill of autumn, yet three weeks of that time was stolen away by the sirens of storms. I angled but a week’s worth of days, and those with the scarcest few sightings of rising trout. Throughout I waited, telling myself that the golden days would come; lower flows and sunlit afternoons with heavy browns sipping tiny mayflies, breezy afternoons when terrestrials were cast into the fray and the trout took advantage of Nature’s last gifts of the season with relish. It was not to be, not this year.

Oh but it was a glorious summer! Interrupted by the vagaries of weather, there were adjustments required of this angler, adjustments I made and then reaped the rewards. Perhaps those summer days were too good. They led me to covet the beauty and glory of a Catskill summer more than ever, and now I am lost until spring!

The wonders of a Catskill Summer: The first hour of fishing with my Sweetgrass Pent, with browns of 19, 21 and 22 inches brought to net, became my first indelible summer memory for 2021. That incredible hour proved to be just the beginning.

As I write, snow is falling here in Crooked Eddy…

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