Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wild day on the North Mills River

Well, the colors are beginning to fade into our memories of the fall of 2007, with the mountains looking more like piles of rusting cannon balls instead of bowls of colorful jellybeans.
In spots, to be sure, the color still dazzles. The ride to Asheville over Saluda Mountain is awesome with sparkling reds and golds lining the highway. I wonder why there are not more accidents since the display is definitely distracting. At my cabin near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the maple in the front yard turned golden, then barren, within one week's time. It actually looks a little ragged, like something has chewed and scratched the branches bare.
Across the street, I found one lone maple leaf, standing out like a gleaming ruby in a pile of rock.
It's a pretty time of year. It's also unseasonably warm, and I have tried to make the best of the nice days to get to some new trout streams like at the end of the paved road along the North Mills River. I found a peaceful, mirror-smooth pool where you have to ford the creek or turn around, and the fish were sipping midges off the glassy surface with some regularity, though I never actually saw any midges fluttering in the air.
I used long, sometimes graceful, casts and let the fly settle quietly amid the rise rings. Then, I watched the fly slowly float over the fish while I took in all the scenery, the magnificent red oaks towering overhead with just enough foliage left to give the sunlight a reddish tint. The air smelled crisp and clean. My mind wandered...
Then, there was a splash, I jerked awake to discover I had a trout on the end of my line and I brought him in to admire. Before I was finished at the pool - it was the only place I fished for two hours - I caught two browns, two rainbows and four brook trout, all apparently stockers except for the brightly-dressed browns.
Funny thing, fishermen passed by, stopped to look and kept going all the time I was there. They all said they had been having little luck.
I smiled.

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