Thursday, May 14, 2009

05.11.09 Back to the West Branch of the Delware

I couldn't help it. I was planning to swing by a neighborhood I am photographing for a long term project I am working on. So I loaded the car with my camera gear, and my fishing stuff also. As I drove up the Garden State Parkway I couldn't help but think what was going on up on the West Branch. So I kept driving. And driving. I got to the No-Kill section in Deposit about 10am. I was all alone. The river was running a little over 300 cfs and looked good. Steady wind kept blowing for much of the morning. I worked up below the Route 17 bridge and settled in to the section below the old train bridge. There wasn't much going on. Gave me some time to reflect on life and try and get my head straight. I worked a hares ear through and then followed it with a hendrickson emerger. Missed two, and that just frustrated me more than ever. I had packed a lunch and planned on heading up to my car to eat since I wasn't worried about losing my spot. As I left the water I met Rick from Binghamton. He's a guy I have seen before here, and have watched him put on a clinic or two in this stretch. He asked me where from New Jersey I was from, and we started an afternoon of conversation. He said I should stick around as the hendricksons were due to start coming off. I watched as he struggled to wade across the river. He was really working at breathing by the time he got across. Emphysema he would later tell me. And then the bugs started, and the fish too. I was fishing into the sun, the kind that makes the river a shiny, silver reflection that difficult to spot your fly and the fish. So I began to cast and cast as the fish went into a hendickson frenzy. I hate fishing into that. I like to hunt one fish, isolate her, and then go for it. So I was making bad casts with a bad drift. So many trout, so many bugs, so little skill on that day. And of course Rick was putting on another clinic, 3 fish over 16- one of which was approaching 20". On his last fish I made my way across river because the fish had taken him down almost near the treatment plant, and I thought the fight might kill him! Rick got him in on his own and after we sat down and talked while the river cooled off. We sat and watched an occasional rise. Around 4 o'clock he left for the day, and I stood in the water waiting for something to happen. I tied a hendrickson emerger on and threw it to some sporadic rises. More casts- more snot. I looked down on the water around 5:30 to see if any spinners were on the water but none were. That's when I made the call. Time to go. I made my way back to my car to the new parking area opposite the Deposit Water Treatment plant and soon headed south on Route 17. I passed the West Branch Anglers and saw the guys lined up waiting for some evening action. As I approached the Gamelands stretch I decided to pull off and take the chance parking on the other side of the tracks. By the time I got down to the river after nearly breaking my ass on that beaver dam, the fish were already working. Spinner fall, a good one. But if you know this tail end of the gamelands pool near the trailers-you know- shallow-flat-and wide. But I had fish in two's in bunches rising for spinners. So I got in the water and got into position. I measured the rise and made a cast. First a little short, then right on, then long- then, the thick green slime. Every cast. And if you waited to every other cast your fly would just sink the second it landed. I stayed for about an hour- then packed it in. I called Tom on the way home to let him know I had to shoot up, even just for the day.