The Challenges and Beauty of Wild Trout

by Walter Kononenko





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.

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This is one of the reasons why I love flyfishing and everything associated with it.

We rarely see other people, flyfishermen or others, mainly because of the stream's remote location which happens to be in the state's Game Lands.

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.

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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 watery home.

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.

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flyline

photos by Walter Kononenko


May 5, 2008



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