I met JC in a motel parking lot where we hooked up his trailer and inflated the floor of his raft by the red glow of his taillights. Normally something all lit up in a red glow looks warm, but not that morning. I have an idea what hell looks like frozen over. It looks like a white raft covered in snow in the red glow of a ford’s tail lights.
He’d told me once the history he knew of the lake, and when you have no other proof but the story coming from your grandfather, you have no reason to question it. You take it as fact, ignoring the fact that all fishermen lie, tell tales, or in the least exaggerate. I never knew him to do any of these things, so I hold what I remember him telling me of this place as fact for no other reason than all grandfathers know everything when it comes to fish and lakes.
The stream’s last defense was the thick alders that lined it, so thick that I doubt thorn bushes could have done much better at all to keep us out. The Lost Boys had told me no waders, you’ll destroy them in there in two minutes. I left my waders behind but questioned it of course, but now I could see, I could confirm. Pushing though the undergrowth, I felt a stinging on the back of my left calf, and then the same on my right thigh as alder branches that were intertwined better than the fibers in a rope held me back as I tried to push through. They grabbed fly rods, slashed at faces, pulled hats from heads, but in the end the will of the fly fishermen was more than they could hold back, and we stood at the water’s edge.
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It was just good to finally be on my favorite stream again, and to see it in such a different way was almost refreshing. In the end on the drive home I thought about it in my head, wondering how I could put it into words that would get the true feelings across.
But this morning I came across some pictures from up on the towers, and it lead to me thinking about things that I took away from my short time in that industry. Mostly fly fishing, and a pair of old friends. In the picture I’m looking down past my boots at the featureless landscape four-hundred and fifty some odd feet below. But it wasn’t the height, and it wasn’t the memory of that specific job that made the picture special. It was my boots supporting me up on the narrow, cold steel up in the wind. They’re my wading boots.
- Tags: Adirondack brook trout, adirondacks, bass fishing, Bass on the fly, bluegill on the fly, Brook trout, Brown Trout, catch and release, fish bum, fish stories, fishing gear, fishing lessons, fishing memories, fishing stories, Fly Fishing Adventure, fly fishing lessons, fly gear, learning to fly fish, life experience, life lessons, mental health, one more cast, oriskany creek, small stream fly fishing, tower climber, tower dawg, tower dog, tower hand, tower rigger, trout season, wader review, waders, wading boots, wild brook trout