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A warm heart for cold weather

Notes from the North Woods

Tiger trout, a unique hybrid of a brook trout and a brown trout, are a very rare find in the wild. However, the strange mix is commonly stocked in ponds and reservoirs in the Catskills, where they can grow to 5-6 pounds or more. Distinguished by their odd looking, worm-like vermiculations, tigers are known as voracious predators.  In recent years, there have been several naturally spawned specimens of the tiger trout taken on the Chubb River near Lake Placid. The fish in the photo is on display at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, where many native Adirondack fish species reside inside a huge aquarium.

Tiger trout, a unique hybrid of a brook trout and a brown trout, are a very rare find in the wild. However, the strange mix is commonly stocked in ponds and reservoirs in the Catskills, where they can grow to 5-6 pounds or more. Distinguished by their odd looking, worm-like vermiculations, tigers are known as voracious predators. In recent years, there have been several naturally spawned specimens of the tiger trout taken on the Chubb River near Lake Placid. The fish in the photo is on display at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, where many native Adirondack fish species reside inside a huge aquarium.

The sweet scent of maple steam has been on the air for weeks, and it recently led me to stumble upon the latest maple concoction, a sweet nip of maple whiskey. I can’t say it is something I could drink a lot of, but it did serve a purpose as winter weather returned to produce another chilly spring day. The whiskey may not have warmed me up, but after a few nips, I kind of forgot about the foul weather.

An April fool

I knew it was too good to be true, but like a little kid listening for sleigh bells on Christmas Eve; I wanted to believe. I was sure it would happen again.

Two years ago, most Adirondack ponds had shed their icy hardtop by April 8. Then, in 2012, I enjoyed a leisurely troll around my favorite backwoods trout pond on April 1.

But like Lucy pulling the football away before poor old Charlie Brown could kick it, spring had failed to be sprung, and on April 1, there remained a 14-inch thick barrier of solid ice on the same ponds. I was again an April fool, albeit one with great hopes and high expectations. In the past few weeks, my dreams of being on the ponds for opening day had quietly dried up, even though the attendant snowpack had not diminished much.

I had gone through all of the usual motions. I strung up new line on all my spinning reels, cleaned the bearings and the gears, and oiled them to perfection.

The rods, which I had so carelessly stacked in the back of the garage last fall in a mad dash to transition from fishing season to hunting season, were delicately untangled.

I checked them for hairline cracks, and I carefully ran my fingers over each guide to assure a smooth surface, with no nicks or burrs to fray my lines.

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

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