I finally had an opportunity to take up a friend's offer to spend the weekend at their second home in Woodstock, NY, and to fish Esopus Creek. The house is located on the top of a mountain facing north with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains both near and far.
On Saturday, we didn't get down to the river until mid-afternoon. The river was in good shape - flows were very good, clarity good, and very few leaves were in the water column and or on the surface. A steady breeze blew and the air was quite chilly under low, thin cloud cover. Brian and Greg weren't up for fishing, so being a guest, I also opted out despite a very strong desire to fish what for me is one of my favorite trout streams east of the Mississippi. Instead, I drove them to many of my favorite spots I have fished on the creek over the last 30 years or so, and gave them my take on how and why I fish each location the way I do. Although Greg's house is 10 minutes away from the river, he has never wet a line in it, so I gave them a grand tour in hopes that he would give it go come spring.
On Sunday morning, I got up to find the dining room table occupied with tired faces and hands wrapped around coffee mugs, and a general sense that no one was going anywhere any time soon. So I grabbed a cup of coffee, took a quick shower to wake up, and left to fish the river alone, which was just fine for me (and them; they encouraged me to go so I would stop encouraging them to join me). I got to the river, put on my waders, and was wading knee-deep in record time. The air was cool, the sky bright and cloudless, and the river just as inviting as ever. I tied on a Hare's Ear nymph, added some shot above it, and went to work fishing the long, fast run you see in the photo above. As I worked my way down the run, the fish wanted nothing to do with my fly, not even a hit. So I switched to another Esopus tried and true fly, a Vinnie's Isonychia nymph. Three or four casts later I was hooked up to one the river's wonderful wild rainbow trout. A small guy, maybe 8-9 inches long, but feisty nonetheless.
I fished for the next 5 hours and hit 3 different spots, catching plenty of the river's rainbows, all of them on Vinnie's Iso nymph. It was one of those days that you just relax, soak in the fresh air, and fish with a clear mind and a level of focus that is effortless.
When I got back to my car after finishing up for the day, there were a couple of guys just getting ready to fish. We talked about the fishing and I shared how I had done and what fly worked for me. I gave them one of my Vinnie's Isonychia nymphs that I had used that day with success, and in return, one of them, Matt, gave me one of his Isonychia nymphs, which is shown above. It's tied with a maribou feather, wire ribbing, a white feather stem for the dorsal stripe, and a thorax of peacock herl, I like the way the fly looks and I will be tying some up to fish in the future. That maribou must undulate in the water and look life-like.
After I got off the highway and headed home on the local streets, my day was completed by a bright orange and pink sunset that guided me home and left me yearning for the next day I would find myself lost in a world that only flowing waters can provide.
Sharpen your hooks,and even if you don't, make sure you sharpen your focus on something along the stream you don't see at home.