Richard Ulrych introduced me to our native brookie in the nearby Poconos.
He warned me that there would be some hard hiking to where the wild trout
live and that once there other physical barriers would be encountered.
Here he was referring to the steep valley slopes covered with mountain
laurel and the abundance of large rocks and boulders left over from
glaciers from millions of years ago.
Richard was right.
But once there, the cool, shaded and quiet valley and the cold, crystal-clear
running water cascading from higher up the mountain presented a place
not normally experienced in our busy everyday lives.
The place has a unique beauty and quiet charm that has to be felt as well
as seen in order to be fully appreciated.
We rarely see other people, flyfishermen or others, mainly because
of the stream's remote location which happens to be in the state's
We have the place to ourselves.
We quickly assemble the flyfishing gear of rods and waders then quietly
split up and start the hunt for the little trout.
One must be extremely quiet and blend in to the forest background
as any unnatural disturbance would spook the native brookie.
These are not stocked waters, but native wild brook trout.
The mountain stream is narrow in spots, not more than a few feet across,
allowing you to criss-cross and scramble over slippery rocks and boulders
as you fish upstream.
You stop and very quietly fish the small riffles, pocket water and pools, especially the larger
boulder and waterfall pools.
That's where you know the trout are.
We try both nymphs and dry flies and they all work.
I don't know who is more surprised by a hookup, the brookie or me.
The little brookie once hooked explosively jumps and wiggles to set himself
free, instinctively surprised that he is no longer the master of his fate.
Once the brookie is brought in, you just admire the beautiful little trout,
take a photo, then release it back to his native water.
He lives in a tough environment. He's a survivor. All he needs is fresh, clean,
cold-running water and to be left alone; he'll do fine.
You take a moment to relax and realize you are one with nature at that moment.
You are the momentary visitor to this place and for a few moments the stream,
the moss-covered rocks, the few flying insects and the trees all make sense in this pristine environment.
There's life around you, but it's hard. Life gets easier further downstream.
After spending a few hours we leave the small mountain stream without
disturbing it very much.
We know that we were just visitors and now we leave the brookies alone in their
These little fish should hopefully survive for a long time to come.
Thanks, Richard, for introducing me to small stream fishing and to our
native brook trout.
May 5, 2008