Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Sink Full of Trout; My Cousin Collin

I couldn't stand it anymore, and bolted for Ulster County, N.Y. the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Even though the streams were still low, the temperatures had cooled a bit and I thought there might be a sporting chance at catching a few trout.

I make do with fishing for bass and other warm water species during the dog days of summer. It's an exercise in rationalization, based on the assumption that it's just as much fun catching a largemouth as a fat rainbow.

It isn't.

The Esopus Creek below the Portal continues to be plagued by murky releases. Plus over the weekend the flow was raised to accomodate tubers.

Above the Portal, where the Esopus is a medium-sized trout stream, things were a little better. Not a lot of water, but enough to keep the half-dozen or so deep runs — between Old Route 28 and Route 42 on the east end and the third state-maintained angler's pull-off a couple miles upstream — full of relatively cool water.

Dusk was good, but dawn even better. And I mean dawn. I left the house Labor Day at 5 a.m., in the dark, and tied on a Stimulator by penlight 25 minutes later.

There are some black stoneflies on the rocks up there. They look like termites, sort of, and can be imitated subsurface with a Copper John or anything else with a v-shaped tail.

Or you can plop a big hairy Stimulator in the head of a given run, where bigger trout gather to complain about the weather and enjoy some scarce aerated water, and watch the fish slam them.

I had an order for fish, so I went into killing mode for a while, long enough to feed a couple of people and not feel bad about it. (For the record, I release over 90 percent of my catch.)

Cleaning them promptly, I noticed that these fish were pretty much starving, which would explain why they were so enthused about the Stimulator. "At last! A square meal!"

All in all I took enough for me, my mother, and my cousin Dwight and his wife Winnie.

Meanwhile, back in the Nutmeg State, I took my cousin Collin, 17, out in the canoe one morning. I gave him the choice of using his spinning rod, which I described as Communist and weak, or using a fly rod, the manly, American option.

Collin's a good lad. He went with the manly choice.

He's a good student, too. After some fiddling, he got a bluegill. Later on he got a largemouth. Flushed with success, he followed me into the squirrelly little brook with a short rod and tried his hand at spooky brook trout. He got a couple of strikes but no takers, and did not get discouraged by hiding behind rocks and occasionally getting tangled up in the back cast.

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