Every fall, I find myself stretched thin, but I think it’s just seasonal. Sometimes I’ll lust for the sun-drenched warmth of the past few months. Simultaneously, I’ll ache for the steelhead fishing is just beyond the horizon. The cooler days bring my thoughts to pumpkin beers, holidays with family, orange leaves, and the solitude of a snowy day on the water. Iced-out-guides and all. That being said, I’m still pretty easily distracted by any trout in local water, and that makes the fall trout stockings, a pretty big event in my life. I’m lucky enough to find myself about 30 minutes from Deer Creek, PA which means I’m heading to the water pretty frequently this time of the year.
Yeah, this is clearly a 1st-world-problem, but the burden of choice is a significant one. Time that could be spent tying up some Senyo patterns has been burned streamside. The same could easily be said for rod-building (working on a cute 2-piece stick currently), or, I don’t know… hitting the gym, cleaning out the basement, cooking healthy meals, earning OT at work, or whatever. And that can have me feeling, conflicted.
Sometimes though, I do feel conflicted about the fishing itself, as well. The water is low in the fall season, and the temperature isn’t fantastic, but there seem to be plenty of good holding water, in the creek. For whatever reason though, 90% of the stockies (rainbows) are stacked up in the same pool. Of course, I could be spout some bs about how the trout have been stacked up in one pool for their entire life… and I suppose I already have. It’s the only feasible reason I could concoct. Either way, with all of the fish in one pool, all of the fishermen are too. Despite being a DHALO section (Delayed Harvest, Artificial Lures Only) I can see the litter from the night before. Coffee cups, a tin of nightcrawlers, and powerbait smeared across the nearby boulders. I guess my beef is that it’s a… less-than-natural experience. The ten-yard walk from the parking lot is less than a scenic one.
But on the brightside, the fish are beautiful. Most have been educated, but they’re willing with the proper presentation. One or two rainbows, about ten to twelve inches, even have a nymph or so stuck deep into their jaws. This is a good sign for anglers the same way frat guys probably love seeing a tramp stamp. If they were willing to make one mistake, maybe they’ll make another.
What I love most however is that it’s a great place to practice the mechanics. The ‘parking-lot-pool’ is pretty low flow, without much shade (honestly awful trout water). The trout are spooky, and presentation is key, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities. It’s a great way to work out those kinks, whether it’s lazy casting, a loose nymphing connection, or twitchy hookset. And if you’re looking for better scenery, you can always go downstream and chase those chubs and dace. I know I did.