Celebrating traditional American style, fly-fishing, and Le Cinema Pfui
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tony V points out the link to the latest fishing epic requires a password, which in turn requires registration, so here's the copy from last week's Lakeville Journal:
Sports Returning to the river after long, tick-infested time off Patrick Sullivan 06/19
It was a long winter, an indifferent spring, and it took me forever to find a groove as I began fishing after a lengthy absence from my favorite rivers and streams. I lost most of last summer to a tick-borne illness, and the first couple of times out this year I realized I had underestimated the ehrlichiosis tick, which not only makes you feel like hell but causes angling-related amnesia.
“How does this knot work? Where are those flies? Whose feet are these?”
I caught two surprised-looking largemouth bass in mid-May. They were cruising around in about 10 feet of water, wondering if it would warm up enough for the spawning season, like a couple of sailors on their first shore leave in months, finding to their dismay that the town is in the grip of a temperance movement and all the young ladies have downed tools, as it were, and joined up.The old ladies, too.
And I stumbled around my nearby small trout stream a few times, trying to find my own balance and stealthy approach, which is difficult in full chest waders, which I am now wearing all the time because I don’t want to get attacked by ticks again.
Two weekends ago, though, during the first summery weather, I got to my home waters in the Catskills. Perhaps the familiar setting did the trick, but I stopped falling over my feet and dropping things and began catching fish.
The Esopus Creek, in Ulster County, has three distinct sections — the first, from the headwaters on Panther Mountain to the hamlet of Big Indian, is small, squirrelly and mostly posted; the second, from Big Indian to Allaben, is a medium-sized trout stream with good public access; and the third, from The Portal at Allaben down to the Ashokan Reservoir, is muscle fishing: The water releases from the Schoharie Reservoir come through the Portal (a tunnel under the mountains) and provide a constant source of cold water releases, which makes this lower section of the Esopus a heaven for trout. There are tens of thousands of trout in this 16-plus mile run.
Good public access, too. The only drawbacks are the other recreational users: kayakers and other white-water enthusiasts, who require releases of water higher than the norm, and tubists, overpadded people from outposts of civilization like Perth Amboy, N.J., and painfully thin folks from the hip sections of Brooklyn.
Anglers can work around the kayakers, who only do their thing a couple of weekends a year, but the tubists are another story, as they throw garbage everywhere and generally behave like louts.
So for two days, with bright sun, high winds and temperatures in the 80s, I worked the sections of the middle and lower Esopus I know best, using the tried-and-true patterns, and caught a bunch of trout. The lower Esopus is a wet fly river; I use a two-fly rig most of the time, and one of the patterns is always the Leadwing Coachman.
And a big rod is a good idea here, too. You’ll want to cover water that is some distance away and a tough wade, and there are some legitimate lunkers that will tax a 3- or 4-weight. I use rods that are either 8.5 or 9 feet long, for line weights of 5 up to 8, depending on the water level.
Nothing truly spectacular came to the net, but there’s something about consistently catching respectable trout over the course of a two-day period that is reassuring.
Especially if you’ve been wondering uneasily if the Bite of the Tick has destroyed the angling part of the brain.
From Lakeville, take Route 44 throught Millerton to Route 199 west. Continue on 199 to the Kingston-Rhinebeck Bridge. The road on the other side of the bridge is Route 209; continue on that to the turnoff for Route 28 west. Public access to the Esopus begins above the Ashokan Reservoir in Boiceville.