Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Exploring New Water

Yesterday's biggest trout, a pretty Wilson Creek rainbow. Photo by Asher Samsel
Exploration often involves more than wading up a new creek. It typically begins with web research and a big of map study and often involves things like making wrong turns and learning that a road that looks like the rest of the roads on the map turns to dirt, climbs a pretty substantial mountain and gets scarily soft and slick for Ford Fiesta travel after a morning rain. It also involves discovering spots where a road beside a river truly provides access and where the road is actually 50 feet above the stream, the banks are wooded and the river is deep enough float your hat from bank to bank.

Asher and I did a little of all that yesterday as we explored the delayed harvest section of Wilson Creek in Western North Carolina. We also learned more about the river's character and how it varies through that stretch, where it can be accessed and how the fish use the river (or at least how they used it given yesterday's conditions). I learned a lot that will aid my approach next time And there definitely will be a next time. While the river is a pretty good trek from here for a day trip (nearly four hours, each way), I was sufficiently impressed with what I saw that I'll definitely return.

While learning and discovering, we also managed to catch some brook trout and rainbows, including one dandy rainbow that nabbed a Rebel Tracdown Ghost Minnow at the head of a long run. I had 2-pound-test, and the net was in the car, well up a steep bank, so landing the fish was almost as intense as navigating the slippery parts of the road.

As anticipated, it definitely was good practice for Asher and me for this summer's Rebel Trout Trek. Asher kept a camera with him and did a good job with it, and he stayed enthusiastic all day, despite the long drive at each end. I'm looking forward to discovering all sorts of things together this summer, and understand that some of those discoveries will begin with wrong turns.


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