Never had I seen the stream I visit on the First Day of trout season so swollen. It pounded down rain the night before so it was no surprise that the banks were overflowing. Just walking to the stream with a fractured left big toe was hard enough. The simple open-toed fabric shoe with two Velcro straps I was given was not the proper footwear for high water and slippery, muddy banks.
While waiting for 8:00 to roll around, I started to lose my First Day enthusiasm. There were more fishermen on the stream than usual because not only did the PA Fish Commission stock, but an area sportsman club made some nice contributions, so I was told. And just trying to find a place to cast without getting my feet wet or sliding in mud made it frustrating. After about two hours and not one bite, I decided to hang it up.
I drove back to the camp three miles away and planned to wait until later hoping the high, brown water would change color and calm down. Small PA streams usually adjust after awhile but leaving the stream after such a short time on the First Day was not my style. I wondered what I was missing by being away for so long. I decided to wait until about 3:00 before heading out once more.
I was hoping that lots of fishermen would become frustrated like me and quit after several hours. Because I was limited to stream access because of my toe, I decided to try a different place from where I was in the morning. I drove to the area about four miles from the camp, parked the car and walked across the road. I had to go down the bank carefully being cautions not to bang my toe against anything. Not easy. After getting down the bank, I could see two fishermen exactly where I wanted to go. They had three rods in the deep pool next to a large, dead willow tree. The water looked green and the level did recede. Good news but there was no room where I wanted to fish. So I decided to go upstream about 20 yards, fighting the uneven ground and battling the briars. I could see that no one was along that part of the stream which is usually not as deep as the nice hole near the over-hanging willow. But I decided to take a chance.
I used a brown colored, gold spinner. My first cast was greeted with a nice bump and tug but nothing. I cast again. This time was different! I knew it was a large fish that needed to be carefully played. The stream at that point is only about 20 feet wide and the water was moving. The fish streaked downstream then cross stream. After a fight, I netted the 18 inch Brown! The largest I’ve ever caught.
I remained in that area of the stream for about an hour. I was unable to go farther upstream. The brush was too thick and I could not walk in the water to get around. I headed back to the camp and discovered that my friends who stayed all day caught three.
The next day, Sunday, I knew that fewer fishermen would be populating the stream but wanted to head out early. The stream color was now good and the water level down. But just foggy enough that the fish could not see my advances.
My first cast was at 6:45 and ‘bang’! Another Browie about 15 inches long. After several other casts, nothing. I decided to go down stream where I usually start the First Day. Only one other fisherman was there but he was way off to the side giving me a large area of the pool to cast into. Probably 30 feet across and 50 feet long. One of the largest holes on the Black Log near Orbisonia, PA. In about 45 minutes, I caught three nice Brown. Returned two smaller fish.
As the rain returned around 11:00 and developed later into a sweeping storm with very high winds, I took the stringer of fish attached to Stick-in-the-Mud to the car and drove to the camp for cleaning. What started out to be a seemingly dismal early trout season, turned out to be a lot of fun. However, my ‘special shoe’ and sock did eventually get wet with the Second Day turning out to be more like a successful First Day.