Recently, in an effort to unclutter my desk and the surrounding area in my office, I began a clean up effort. Most of the litter was easy to discard, and included a collection of photographs, paid bills, and various odds and ends, mostly unremarkable. But there was one item that demanded my attention. It was a dozen or so sheets from a notepad that had been stapled together, the top piece bearing a date: Saturday, June 2, 2007.
It turns out that this was a mini diary of a fishing trip I had taken to the Catskills over a decade ago. I can hardly believe it’s been eleven years since that trip, but it has. I thought I’d share those special memories with you. I have quoted the diary, word for word (with some notes of explanation). I think trout fishermen will enjoy it. I hope the rest of you do, too.
“Saturday, 6//2/07 – Left home 6:45. Passed Harrisburg [PA] around 3 p.m. Decided to keep going. Stopped around 6:30 p.m. in Pine Grove, PA. Got room at Econolodge. [I hiked two flights of stairs, making three trips, carrying all my expensive fishing tackle, and what luggage I had to my room]. Ate at Arby’s. Asleep by 8:30 p.m. Awoke at 10:00 p.m. No A/C, no lights. Someone hit a utility pole, knocking out power. Loaded up truck, left motel 10:30 p.m. [The manager said he would be glad to credit me, but couldn’t do it until power was restored. I said I’d stop on my way back, in a week..]
Drove 77 miles to just outside Scranton – Super 8 Motel – Slept midnight to 6 a.m. [This time, I did not unload all my stuff. In fact, I didn’t take so much as a toothbrush into the room.]
Sunday, 6/3/07 – Arrived Roscoe Sunday a.m. Ate breakfast Roscoe Coffee Shops. Saw Pat & Fred [Pat was former waitress, who, together with her husband, held regular water gun fights with the patrons. She has since passed away]. Fished Sunday eve, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Hooked approx. 12 fish, landed 8, all small.
Monday, 6/4/07 – Paul met me 7 a.m.at coffee shop. [Paul and I had been fishing buddies for 27 years. We fished just this one day, before he left to go back home. After this day, we never saw one another again.] Had breakfast, then off to fish a nice run above the Roscoe Campground. No fish. Went to Barnhardt’s Pool. No fish. Cemetery Pool – some size 14 Isonychia showing, couple March browns. No activity. Around 1 p.m., small gray caddis – some activity. Worked over 1/2 doz. fish for two hours. Several refusals. Finally caught 15” brown [trout] on ovipositing caddis. Nice fish. Had lunch Sunoco Pool. Fished 1 hr. – nothing! Acid Factory [another pool on the river]. 1-1/2 hrs. Nothing. Quit 4:20. Back to motel where I ran into old friend R.O.S. [Ramsey Outdoor Store, where I used to work] named Phil. Took pictures. Will fish with him at 6 a.m. [tomorrow]. Paul & I had pizza at Raimondo’s. Fair!! Watched Stanley Cup.
Tuesday, 6/5/07 – Woke 5 a.m. – left 6 a.m. with Phil. Fished Cemetery Pool until 9 a.m. Stopped at Sunoco station for coffee cake & iced tea. [Gap here probably indicated a lot of hard fishing with no results until . . . ] Fished Acid Factory from 4:30-7:30. Zippo. Some Isonychia. Had one refusal to emerger. Dropped off Phil & went down to Upper Beaverkill before Junction [Pool]. Took nice, fat 12” brown on Isonychia parachute [fly]. Jumped 3X. Lots of Iso spinners. Quit 8:40.
Wednesday, 6/6/07 – Arose 4:45. Phil and I arrived Peakville [lower end of Beaverkill River near East Branch of Delaware River] around 5:45. N-O-T-H-I-N-G!! C-O-L-D. Probably 48°. Made a dozen or so casts with streamers to no avail. Left around 6:45 a.m. Called David [my eldest son] around 7:15 and talked about his trip [have no idea which trip it was]. Went back to room and slept for couple of hours, then took Kuttner [Frank Kuttner, an old friend, and a repeating character in my Matt Davis mysteries] for lunch. Returned back to room & hung out until around 4:00 p.m. Went to Acid Factory & met Steve Donaldson from Mass. Talked about 1-1/2 hrs, then went down to fish the river. Very patient, but virtually no activity. Sporadic hatching of BWO #14-18 [Blue Winged Olives mayflies], sulfurs same. Finally around 8:00, 1 or 2 fish rose a couple of times, pretty much out of reach. Made some casts, but no takers. Quit 8:40. Watched hockey!
Thursday, 6/7/07 – Rose 5:30, overcast & cool (55°). Met Charlie at coffee shop 7:00 a.m. [Charlie Marra, my dear friend, has since moved to Michigan, and it remains to be seen if we’ll ever get to fish again]. 8:00 Acid Factory – fished ’til 11:00 a.m. Nothing!! 11-12:00, got Charlie checked in [at motel]. 12:15 to 3:00 – fished Willowemoc from Stewart Ave down to Junction Pool. K-I-L-L-E-D!! All small. Hooked approx. 30, landed 17. Charlie same or better. Ate lunch/dinner at Cairn’s [Pool]; nothing happened. Got to Cemetery Pool around 4:30. Absolutely nothing ’til 8 p.m. 8-9 smorgasbord, but no luck. [At least a dozen different mayflies and caddis flies were hatching. The smorgasbord was for the trout, which fed voraciously.]
Friday, 6/8/07 – Arose 5 a.m. Charlie came by 6 a.m. Started at Peakville around 7 a.m. A couple of fish barely working. I waded upstream of island & pricked 2 fish. Charlie stayed at pool & caught really nice 14” fish. Left water around 10:00, went for breakfast. Fished by 191 boat ramp [a section of the West Branch of the Delaware, along PA highway 191]. Hooked & lost 2 small fish. Went back to Peakville around 1:30, stayed ’til 3:00. V-e-r-y hot! Drove to Peakville. Fished 10:00 ’til noon. Large fish taking small #16-18 olives. Guy caught the largest rainbow I’ve ever seen!! Probably 22”-26” – 2-1//2-3;1/2 lbs. E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S!! I raised several good fish, but couldn’t hook up. Got hot dog around 12:30. Back to motel for nap. Knot under left shoulder blade. Got to Willowemoc 3:30. Fished until 5:30. Hooked 7 fish, landed 3. Last fish, best of trip, 14” – 15” brown. Nice jump. Beautiful colors.
This was typical of the fly fishing trips I took every year, from the time I moved to North Carolina in 1999, right up until last year. I have no trip planned for this year, but I pray to God I can resume the tradition in 2019. I may live in North Carolina, but my heart and soul reside amidst those beautiful rivers of New York’s Catskill Mountains.