Sorry for such short notice, but I wasn't able
to get my act together this week and put pen to paper.
Even at this late stage of the game, I'm racking my brain
for a hook on a bunch of topics and nothing is coming...sorry.
This past week was much more eventful than I anticipated and
I ran out of time.
No Hemlock Headwaters this Week
By Dave Pearson, PA
Monday was my opener. I wasn't able to get out on Saturday
(which was a beautiful day, by the way) but I put Monday
aside as my day to fish for stocked trout in open water.
As it turns out, it was also the second day of the
unseasonably late nor'easter which lashed the east coast.
We were preparing for as much as a foot of snow, but got
a little bit of sleet, slush, and rain…..and a whole lot
of wind. So, down here in the valley, the wind was whipping,
trees were swaying, and branches were falling to the ground.
I feared for my roof. But I went to the mountains to fish
Here's a little known fact. The little high mountain streams
just don't get the wind that we get here in the valley. Think
about it. The stream is in the lowest portion of the terrain
protected on two sides by close mountains. The trees on the
hills absorb most of the wind. You just get the occasional
gust down the stream. So in the valley the wind can be
blowing greater than it was in Kansas in The Wizard of Oz,
but in the higher elevations you can fish unhampered by wind.
So I went to a stocked stream in the mountains...and there
was no wind...but, it snowed. And I caught no fish...one
strike, but no fish. So much for being clever. Lol!
On Tuesday I went to Philly in a borrowed car. Mine was in
the shop getting a new alternator. As is my habit, I fished
the Wissahickon for a couple of hours between lessons. Well,
remember that nor'easter? It hit Philly with a vengeance
dumping almost six inches of water in eighteen hours on
Monday. So on Tuesday the creek was running about four feet
high with runoff that colored the water with mud. But time
spent fishing is time spent fishing. I put on a small black
clouser I had tied with bear hair and black flash and fished
the eddies as best I could. This meant I fished areas that
are normally bone dry land…places that never see water. And
I caught a few fish. A hand twist retrieve turned the trick.
Wednesday I got my car back and ran errands 'til the evening
when I went to my monthly TU meeting. The speaker that night
gave a great talk on the Hellbender Salamander. He studies
these in the watershed of the west branch of the Susquehanna.
Really shy, fascinating creatures...just ugly as sin. They do
not bite nor do they eat trout or trout eggs. They eat mostly
Thursday morning I got up early and fished the open water of
White Deer Creek. Let me tell you, I can't believe I caught
more wild fish than stockers. I know this stream is one of
the hardest hit on opening day, but there were so few fish
left! No wonder the second stocking comes scant days after
the first. And the commission is not supposed to stock over
wild fish, but if White Deer were not stocked, there would
be a revolt. Ultimately, I think, the water is managed for
the fishermen first, sometimes to the detriment of the fish.
So I caught a couple of stockers and a bunch of wild fish
in one of the most heavily stocked streams in the county.
And...I had the stream to myself! I left at noon and saw
all the other guys rolling in. I wanted to stay and fish
the whole day, but I've got to work sometime and my students
Friday is the McCalls Dam field trip for the Mifflinburg
high school freshmen. This is an annual event scheduled
to coincide with Earth Day. Each year my TU chapter
volunteers to help out. My job here is to give the kids
the aquatic bug lecture and the water quality lecture. I
set up a display of bugs I've netted from the creek and
explain the life cycle of the mayfly, stonefly, caddis,
etc. Then I talk about the importance of riparian zones
and related topics. I do this for twenty five minutes or
so. Then I do it all over again for the next group of
freshmen. I do this eight times...starting at about 9:30
am and ending at 2:30 pm. By the time the last of the kids
is safely on the bus and homeward bound, I'm beat. For the
ast four years I've helped out at this event. It's quite
rewarding. Earlier in the morning, before the kids arrive,
I fish the C&R section. This year I got ice in my guides
and managed a couple of fish. By mid-afternoon, the temperature
is in the mid seventies.
Saturday was clean-up day at Penns Creek...another TU event.
We picked up trash streamside and roadside. Then we went
fishing. The Hendricksons were coming off like gangbusters...
but no rising fish. And no one could coax a rise, either.
So, Gillian, our dog Casey, and I made our way up Cherry Run.
Let me see...how can I put this?
I learned it is not a good idea to take a flat-coated
retriever puppy fishing if one wants to actually catch
fish. But the weather was great and a day on the stream
with my family is always time well spent.
Today, after church, we framed pictures for a contest
put on as part of the Lewisburg Arts Festival. I framed
a couple of wild trout.
Gillian had a couple of dandy pictures of some coltsfoot
and some fungus.
A shot of the two dogs rounded out the entries.
And this brings me to now and this hastily written missive.
I'll do my best next week to write a column for you. Who
knows – I might even get it to you on time!
I trust all is well with you and Jim.
As always, Gillian sends her regards.
~ Dave - (black gnat)
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:
Hemlock Headwaters Archives