Dave

March 19th, 2007

Boy Scout Motto
By Dave Pearson, PA

Back in September of 2006 I got married. I've never been married before. The big joke with my best man was that I skipped the starter wife and went straight to the trophy wife. And it's true. I have the good fortune to be married to a special and gifted woman with whom I plan to spend the rest of my days. We were hitched along Penns Creek, right next to Johnson's pool. That morning, the best man and I fished Johnson's until almost 10 o'clock (we did pretty well, too!), then went ashore, and got ready for the 11 o'clock ceremony. My bride and I said our vows then celebrated with well-wishers. After an afternoon of good food, singing, storytelling, and square dancing, we left the party and the banks of Johnson's in a canoe.

My bride, Gillian, has family in Tennessee, Ontario, and New Hampshire; all of which have trout nearby. The Tennessee homestead is about twelve hours away, New Hampshire is a solid nine hours, and the house in Toronto, Ontario is seven hours distant.

We chose to spend the past week in Toronto. It was great. We went to the theater, ate way too much food, listened to a wonderful performance of Handel's water music, and searched for the Forks of the Credit River.

I have a book, Ontario Blue-ribbon Fly Fishing Guide written by Scott Smith and published by Frank Amato. It's a valuable resource and is my guide until I gain some first-hand knowledge of Ontario waters. Chapter 12 starts with a description of the upper Credit River and focuses on the Forks of the upper Credit. Here is some water that sounds just up my alley -- small stream, native brookies, wild rainbows, wary browns -- and it's in a provincial park so access is not an issue. Sounds dandy… so dandy that I convinced the family to take an afternoon and go see exactly what was there.

The weather in Toronto wasn't exactly mild, but it wasn't harsh either. The day before, Nancy, my mother-in-law, took me on a bicycle tour of the more salient parts of Toronto. I saw all the notable bits; Gillian's high school, her favorite park, the building at the University where her brother teaches an impossibly large class (about 2000 students! Really!)...all the important spots. The ride was comfortable, enjoyable and educational.

And there certainly wasn't any snow. So, I gave the weather no thought as I donned my street shoes as the rest of the family donned their street boots and piled into the car. Off we went to find the Forks of the Credit -- Gillian, Nancy, Jonathan ( my father-in-law), three dogs (Casey, Boo Boo, and Rufus) and I.

I had the notion that someday I would ride my bike to our destination, so we took secondary roads. All forty-two miles of them through the urban and suburban sprawl. It took forever to get to "the country." And when we finally did get to "the country" it was covered in snow. We got to the park, it was covered in snow. But the temperature was in the mid 40's and the sky was bright, so we set off to find the Forks of the Credit.

I stepped onto the trail and sank ankle deep into slush. Took two more steps and my feet were soaked. The rest of the clan was wearing boots so their feet remained dry, for a while. We went to the sign board with the park map. The water should be just over that hill if we take this path. And so we went. And got lost in a maze of well marked trails. The slush was hard to slough through and quite deep in spots. I think everyone fell down at least once. Some of us a lot more than once. My feet were numb. Everyone was tired, hungry, and a bit thirsty. And my pockets were empty.

Usually on any trip to the woods or water, no matter how short, I bring some food, water, first aid, pocket knife, map, compass; a bunch of survival essentials. Just in case. But not this time. Heck, I didn't even bring the right shoes.

Fortunately, we guessed correctly on a couple of those turns on the trail and made it back to the parking lot. But it could have been a whole lot worse. Someone could have twisted an ankle, the weather could have turned, we could have guessed incorrectly at some of those turns. And the story would have ended much differently.

So next time I come prepared for the unexpected and maybe I'll actually see the Forks of the Credit.

I want to leave you with something quite short and useful.

The same temperature cues that aquatic insects use to tell them when to hatch are the same cues used by spring ephemera, that is, wildflowers. And some bugs and plants hatch and bloom at the same time. This correspondence is good in central Pennsylvania.

Coltsfoot

In mid march, the BWO in a size 16-18 will hatch when the Coltsfoot blooms. Coltsfoot is found in small dense clumps on forest roadsides and clearings, especially in dry or sandy soil. The flowers emerge before the leaves, and look similar to dandelions. They are about 4-6" high.

Skunk Cabbage In mid April the Grannom caddisfly, size 12-14 hatches as the Skunk cabbage blooms. These plants grow quite tall later, but when in bloom they are 4-8" tall.

Trout Lily The Blue Quills, size 16-18, appear the same time as the Trout Lilies. Look for the distinctive mottled leaves. Very small – just 1-2" high.

Bloodroot The Quill Gordons emerge as the Bloodroot blooms. The flowers are small and bright white. 4-6" high.

The Hendricksons hatch as the Wild Ginger blooms. The brown flowers are small and hidden under the leaves. The leaves are heart--shaped. The plant is about 3" high.

Wild Ginger

This brings us to May which I shall leave for another time. ~ Dave - (black gnat)

About Dave:

Dave Pearson lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his loving wife, Gillian, and two dogs, Casey and Booboo. His passion is small mountain streams. He teaches guitar for a living. You may contact Dave at: pdewey2@aol.com

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