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Some old, but not so familiar, fishing streams

Notes from the North Woods

According to DEC fisheries reports, The Branch remains one of the most productive waters in the state for wild rainbow trout.

The naturally spawned rainbows have always been a joy to catch as they readily display the acrobatic maneuvers of fish many times their size. And the beauty of their vermillion side panels are worth every bit of energy that is expended in the rock-hopping obstacle course that provides a route up the creek to access their hiding holes.

Of course, the stream also provides a wealth of swimming holes as well, of which US Falls is by far the most popular. It seems like it was only a few years ago that I first discovered knotweed along the banks of the small stream, well below the Footbridge Park in Elizabethtown.

It seemed odd to see knotweed just below US Falls just a year later. It’s easy to understand how knotweek could be washed downstream with the high-water events of recent years. However, I couldn’t understand how the weed was able to advance up the stream, when the water flows down the stream.

However, over the last few years, the stalky, bamboo like weed has managed to spread far above US Falls, and it has now advanced well upstream of the Hurricane Mountain Bridge on Route 9N.

It is an ugly sight to behold, with large patches of the plant straddling and strangling the stream in some places. Often, it is difficult to find a decent hole in which to cast a fly.

Unlike tag alders, which have long been the bane of many small creek anglers; knotweed can actually choke off the entire channel of smaller streams. When it does so, it is nearly impossible to find enough open water to land a fly.

The pervasive invasive has also supplanted many of the native ferns that once grew think along the Boquet’s riverbanks. In one particular section of the Boquet near where the outlet of Barbers Pond joins the flow, the riverbanks were once thick with tall ferns that grew to impressive height.

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

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