A Lazy Day Up Muddy Creek

Bill Hillman, Texas - June 15, 2009

North Texas has enjoyed a remarkably mild spring, temperature wise. We've gotten quite a bit of rain, too, and the lakes are high. Memorial Day weekend I took the kayak up Muddy Creek, from its mouth at the lake. Muddy Creek is flooded and has become a real, Tarzan style jungle swamp. The mild and wet spring has caused plant life to explode and I canít get down along the bank anymore until the water recedes a bit. In fact, there was so much new growth that I missed the entrance to the creek and proceeded up a channel that is normally dry. I wound up having to drag the kayak over a few downed logs and push through some flooded forest and thick weeds to get into the main channel. Thatís spooky stuff for a city dweller in a Texas swamp. Lots of nasties live there.

The water weeds were especially animated as feeding carp bumped them everywhere, and I could hear little slurping noises as they ingested floating vegetation. They made big splashes in the weeds, which any fisherman might find distracting.

Patrolling gar made their own swirls and splashes, and every big mamma gar had one or two much smaller boyfriends swimming along side. Spring, you know.

There were no doubt tons of snakes in the weeds, but I didnít see any until I got into the main creek channel and things opened up a bit. There, snakes were all over the place though I didn't see any poisonous ones. They would swim right up to the kayak if I remained still. I donít mind snakes, and up close they are fascinating.

There were lots of egrets and herons, and the latter are on their nests with little ones squawking terribly for regurgitated, half digested fish. And human kids balk at broccoli!

I wish I could say that the fishing was great, but it wasnít. Even my bead headed marabou wonder fly only nailed one little bluegill. Muddy water doesn't make for great fishing with artificials. So I sat back and took in the surroundings for much of the day.

Gliding slowly up the creek one notes that the noises of man are confined to a whisper of traffic from distant roads and the occasional aircraft passing by. Otherwise, it is very quiet. Some of the trees are pollenating and as I passed them they were literally humming with bees. You can hear distinctly the plop plop of turtles egressing their log basks as you round a bend, and the birds are singing continuously. Cardinals and mocking birds were the most prominent. Bull frogs were grunting quite a lot, but other sounds were more mysterious as many unseen critters voiced their opinions on this matter or that. Then a woodpecker would pound his way loudly into a tree somewhere nearby, sounding vaguely like distant machine gun fire in a jungle war movie.

Thankfully, the mosquitoes were silent, at least out on the water, but spiders were a pain every time I brushed a branch. Truly, I hate spiders. I saw one really big one, a hunter rather than a trapper, resting on a bit of floating bark. As I watched he took flight across the top of the water, his eight long, hairy legs making little splashing noises in their furious bid for dry land. He made landfall in peace, but I had the heebie jeebies for a good 10 minutes or so.

The water was heavily silt laden, but contrasting with its brownness, the green of healthy and dense plant life, both aquatic and not, was overpowering. Vines are a stout plant, and very leafy vines have conquered many of the trees and bushes along the bank. Among them, an occasional wild rose, thick with blossoms, splashed bright shades of pink against the green background making a strikingly beautiful vision.

Towards the afternoon I heard thunder and shortly had to park the boat and take refuge under a tree while the sky opened up on me. Didn't get too wet, but I got pretty muddy. It could have been been worse, I suppose, for as I left the cover of the canopy and entered the final channel into the lake a great, dark and purplely blue monster dominated the sky, sliding by just a little southeast of me.

Iíd stay dry.

Behind me, though, the sun was shining, having melted the clouds. Its slanting rays bathed the cattails in the yellow light of early evening giving the whole scene a golden glow against the storm cloud.

This is one of the many things that makes fishing worth while for me. Fish or no fish (preferably the former) the adventure is always so many times more enjoyable than couching in front of a TV.

Of course, Iíd do that later, anyway.

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