Back from the ponds

Notes from the North Woods

It is difficult to capture the allure of a small stream, wild brook trout and complete solitude.

It is difficult to capture the allure of a small stream, wild brook trout and complete solitude. Photo by Joe Hackett.

The blackflies are back, and so are the tourists, just as the fishing season has finally hit full stride. Whether fishing on the river or stream, or on a lake or a pond, all anglers should be aware of the necessary common courtesies inherent to the pursuit.

Despite our focus on angling, we must recognize that we all share a common natural resource with a variety of other users. Whether visiting the waters to fish, swim, paddle, bird watch or to simply enjoy the show, safety should always be the ultimate object of any outing. The fun and the fish are simply byproducts. In this regard, a lot of anglers and other river travelers are likely to be in for a surprise this season, when they first return to their old, familiar fishing hole.

In many cases, the deep, dark pools and productive riffles that many have enjoyed on local rivers, will have changed dramatically. The familiar ‘honey hole’ may have silted in, and the shallow runs could be mucky, or thick with debris. In many cases, the riverbanks may have collapsed, log jams have formed and even the course of a river may have shifted.

As the weather continues to heat up and the waters begin to warm, swimmers in particular should exercise caution, especially before diving or jumping into the rivers and streams. Scout the pools with a mask and snorkel, and be sure to look before you leap. The old familiar swimming hole may no longer be as deep.

Rivers and streams are a very dynamic medium. They operate on an unabated continuum, which is ever changing, ever flowing. Experienced anglers and veteran paddlers understand this process, but very few of these veteran ‘river mongers’ have ever experienced the type of high water incidents that occurred during last year’s high water events.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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