I ran into a friend of mine at the bank the other day. He had been fishing a few days before on his favorite stream in Delaware County.
Ray showed me a photo on his cell phone with the proof. He had caught five brown trout 17 inches or longer.
It seems that Ray had the day off from work and decided to go fishing. The sky was truly ominous, with black clouds rolling in steadily from the west. His wife tried to warn him, "You're going to get wet."
"That's all right," he responded. "A little bit of rain never hurt anyone."
He put on his old rain coat and pulled his hip boots up before leaving his car along the road. The bank down onto the river flat was quite steep, but it made little difference because he knew the area well. After all, he'd fished that same spot ever since he was a kid.
Ray put a nightcrawler on his hook and let it drift down into the pool below him. Things were quite slow that morning. The fish just didn't seem to be very hungry because they weren't biting.
Suddenly, the thunder roared and the sky opened up. It rained so hard that the cuffs of his raincoat filled and over flowed into his pockets. It was one of those storms that we often refer to as a gully washer. Ray was already wet, so he decided to stick it out and keep fishing.
It wasn't long before he noticed the river slowly rising and the water was getting roiled and a little muddy. Bang! He had his first hit.
The line on his pole immediately tightened with a mighty tug as a large trout fought in the deep-water pool. He could hardly believe it when he finally got the fish to shore. It was nearly a foot-and-a-half long _ a true monster.
He worked down the stream to the next pool and the same scenario played out. Another large brown trout was added to the stinger. After the third fish, Ray decided to try a large Phoebe, not caring if he even caught another fish. In the rising, muddy water, it worked just as well. Two more fish eventually filled his limit.
Ray's story reminded me of fishing with my neighbor Bill Naatz many, many years ago. When I was just a kid, we'd often go fishing in the area streams.
I learned a valuable lesson one day when the fish weren't hitting. Old Bill went upstream a few yards and kicked with his boots, loosening the mud and dirt, stirring up the water. The fish immediately started to feed. I guess they thought that a storm had loosened the banks and washed some food into the creek. We caught several nice fish that day, and I've used that trick many times since.
Ray's day of fishing just proves that there are some great fish in our local streams if we just take the time to get out there and do it. It also proves that even in terrible weather, you can have the time of your life. Don't let a few black clouds slow you down.
The Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited is sponsoring an Introduction to Fly Fishing Course at the Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. July 7. To sign up, call Marge Harris at 607-263-5767 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) or Dave Plummer at 607-563-1978. There is a $40 fee for the class that will be collected at the event. Bring your lunch and a fly rod if you have one. Loaners are available.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.