Part of my family has lived in the same 5 square miles for close to a century. We knew a local pond by the name of the old farmer who once owned all the land surrounding it. When his family sold that land half a century ago, a developer named it after the neighborhood they built on the land. It was always interesting to me how one could gauge a person’s time in the area by the name they used for the pond. Anglers are often the exception, as many of us carry the oral history of a stream over time, and pass it along to protégés again and again.
Over the weekend, I had the luck of stumbling upon a small stream that exists the same way it has for hundreds of years. When looking on Google maps, you’ll only see this stream as an unnamed tributary of a larger creek; a thin blue line on a map. You can only start finding answers by speaking with locals, and finding out the true history behind this meandering line of water cutting its way through dense old forest growth.
Bodies of water carry history with them, and luckily for me, this stream also carried a population of wild brown and brook trout. The stream sits on private land, so I knew I was in for a special fishing experience when its owner told me he had caught a 13″ brook trout in this small creek. After getting his permission to fish, I headed down and started casting one of my favorite flies into a terraced pool. On the first cast, I was surprised to see a flash of gold, and a heavier fish than I had expected. My reward was the wild brown pictured below.
As the owner hadn’t mentioned any browns, I was shocked to find it in the first pool I tried. It shook the hook and landed in the leaves, so I took a quick picture before wetting my hand and helping the trout back into the water. It swam off faster than my eyes could follow.
I continued up the stream, fishing each run and pool, focusing extra effort near overhanging branches and logs. I managed to catch a few more brook and brown trout in each small pool. After about an hour, I decided to head back to my car, feeling great about the day. If you’re anything like me, small streams are one of my favorite ways to fly fish. If you’re a fan too, I’d suggest also checking out a great blog I read, called Small Stream Reflections.
The spring is a great time to check out these little streams. There’s plenty of rain and bug activity for the fish to stay healthy and happy. If I hadn’t by chance run into the property owner, I would have missed out on this amazing little stream.