Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Trout fishing in the summer air

It’s summer. I can tell by the smell.

I left Shelby last week with the scent of magnolia filling the car and freshly cut grass in the air as I headed for the mountains to try and catch some wild trout with my flyrod.

Riding through Henderson County the air was rich with fertilizer from a freshly plowed field, the smell so strong it slowed my car down. Then, it thankfully shifted to the soft, sweet scent of honeysuckle.

As I drove through the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest, I entered a darkened tunnel of green. That nice, pungent piney tinge added a nice touch. I breathed deeply.Along the banks of the river, wild multifloral rose laid it on thick as syrup, and I rolled the windows down for its full effect.

It felt good to be alive and en route to a trout stream.Up the darkened tunnel, past camping families around down tree limbs I found a spot to pull over where no one was. It was late afternoon.

I caught a few trout.Monday was special, though. I found some new water I had never fished, hiked about a half mile up a well-worn path and began casting little light cahills. I got four or five grabs before landing the first fish, a little wild brown.Then, I caught my first brook trout of the year. Then another.

The banks were aglow with pink, red and white rhododendron, along with a smattering of wild violets. The water was still cool in the headwaters of the Pigeon River.I kept changing flies, tying on a yellow one and then a white one and then a cream-colored parachute one. And I caught trout with each.

The crowning glory was just around the bend in the stream, where it opened wide as a basketball court with a 70-foot long pool of smooth, quiet water.In the middle of that glassy surface, a single ripple appeared.

Then another.I threw out a soft cast, let the fly settle on the water like a flake of snow and then watch the splash as the first brookie nailed it.Add the smell of fish on my hands and shirt to the smells of summer.

And I love it.

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