Archive for goals

Looking ahead to 2017…

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on February 8, 2017 by stflyfisher

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson

Anglers are a hopeful bunch, and perhaps the hope curve is highest this time of the year, when angling is still months away for us in the Southern Tier. Snow, ice, and arctic air might contain us, but within us our imaginations run like roaring rivers about what might be in 2017. We are hopeful in the pause of winter. We look back on the year, re-live the great moments on the water and learn from the not-so-great and then turn our gaze forward. We turn to tying flies, building rods, cleaning equipment, spooling lines, patching waders, and studding boots. And we dream and plan…

I set goals in most areas of my life, including fly fishing. I think the act of goal-setting is important in becoming a better angler. Goals stir us to action and hopefully, force us out of our comfort zone. It’s rare when I achieve everything I set out to do; in fact, if I hit 70 – 80% of my targets, I consider it a very good year, indeed.

All in all, 2016 was a decent year. A few factors and events influenced my results both negatively and positively. Because of the extreme drought, for example, I was much less of a trout fisherman this year and much more of a river rat, so that had an impact on some of my goals. The purchase of investment property in Florida also added a dimension to my fly fishing that was not in the plans back in January, 2016.

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So it is with planning and goals. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, architect of the D-Day Invasion, once said that plans are useless but planning is necessary. My take on his quote goes along the lines of another version of it – that no plan ever survives “first contact with the enemy.” The crux and irony of planning is that one needs to do it to preclude failure but since so many factors change the course of events and impact plans, one must not be rigid to a plan and should only use it as a guideline. One must be committed to the goal or objective, but remain fluid with respect to the plan to achieve it.

So looking forward, I hope to set goals that help me achieve a higher level of effectiveness as a fly fisherman but not keep me from pursuing opportunities as they arise…

Here’s how I did in 2016:

  1. Learn more about nymph fishing – I read a little of Joe Humphreys and George Daniel’s works but as mentioned previously, a lack of trout fishing kept me from doing much in this area. Call this 10% complete.
  2. Learn to fly fish for musky. Per my 2016 plan, I purchased a new musky fly rod – a beautiful Scott Tidal “MP” 9′ 10 weight, and a Lamson Liquid Reel Pack to go with it (1 reel with two additional spare spools). I still need to purchase fly lines and then tie flies, study, and lastly, intentionally fish for these apex predators. Call this 20% complete.
  3. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL. – As mentioned in my Looking Back on 2016 post, I was able to wet a line a few times in Destin and had some fly fishing success as a newbie. 100% COMPLETE.
  4. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns. Thanks to last year’s BCFF Fly Tying Class, this is 100% COMPLETE.
  5. Donate a box of my flies to the TU banquet. The Al Hazzard TU banquet, a ritual of Spring was not held in 2016. Initially, it was rescheduled to late 2016, but it never actually happened. I’ll remove this goal for 2017 unless I see the event scheduled.
  6. Float-fish the Susquehanna (4X) – I did only one float of the Susquehanna this year, mainly because Mollie, my prized all weather fly fishing vehicle, was given away early in 2016, her rusted frame not able to pass another NY state inspection. I did not see a way to transport my small kayak to the river, as my wife’s SUV did not have a roof rack, but come fall, my interior design wife – the ultimate packer – showed how I could fit my kayak inside our SUV. So 1X could have been 4X after all. Call this 25% complete.
  7. Make perfect fly casting practice a habit. 100% COMPLETE.
  8. Fish with friends, including at least 3 trips with new friends. I fished with 11 different friends in 2017. 100% COMPLETE.
  9. Fly fish and/or attend fly fishing events 100 times this year. I also accomplished my goal of fishing / attending fly fishing events 100 times. This was a stretch goal but well worth it. 100% COMPLETE.
  10. Learn to tie 3 new fishing knots. 0% COMPLETE.
  11. Fish the Salmon River – Spring, Fall, Winter. I fished for steelhead in the spring and got out once for the fall Salmon run. 66% COMPLETE.
  12. Night fish for trout. 0% COMPLETE.
  13. Fish marginal waters. 0% COMPLETE.
  14. Build my own fly rod. As profiled here in early 2016, I built my first fly rod courtesy of the BC Flyfishers and expert rod maker, Joe Swam. 100% COMPLETE.

Putting a final measure on my results, I’d say I was a little over 50% effective in achieving my 2016 goals.

As most who have read previous “looking ahead” posts know, my process for goal setting starts with a look back and recounting of the year past, usually in December. Once that is done, I begin to plan for the year ahead in early January, mull my draft goals over through the rest of January and early February, and post them – a formal commitment – before my birthday in early March. This year I’m ahead of schedule…

My fly fishing goals for 2017:

  1. Learn more about nymph fishing – study Joe Humphreys’ “Trout Tactics”
  2. Learn to fly fish for muskie.
    1. Purchase line and leader
    2. Tie flies
    3. Study muskie fly fishing
    4. Fish for them
  3. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL.
    1. Fish the bay for redfish & trout.
    2. Fish the inlet / surf.
  4. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns.
  5. Float-fish the local warmwater rivers (4X)
  6. Fly fish, practice casting, or attend fly fishing events 125 times this year.
  7. Learn to build leaders. for a
    1. Buy kit
    2. Buy micrometer
    3. Fish my leaders
  8. Night fish for trout.
  9. Fish marginal waters.
  10. Build more fly rods / advance my rod building skills:
    1. Fly rod for my brother-in-law for his 60th birthday
    2. “River Rat” prototype.
    3. “Bay Rat” prototype.
  11. Search for the ideal river boat.

So here’s to achieving fly fishing goals in 2017! In the words of Saint Gerome (340 – 420), father of the Latin church: “Good, better, best, never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

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Goals for 2016

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on February 25, 2016 by stflyfisher

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ernest Hemingway

It’s that time to proclaim my fly fishing goals for 2016. Much as I’ve practiced in the past, the process for goal-setting starts in late November / December, when I start a review of the year and spend time thinking about where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to be in the fly fishing world. I usually start putting some draft goals to paper in early January, mull them over through the rest of January and early February, and post them – a formal commitment – before my birthday in early March.

So here they are – my fly fishing goals for 2016:

  1. Learn more about nymph fishing.
    1. Study Joe Humphreys’ “Trout Tactics”
    2. Study George Daniel’s “Dynamic Nymphing”
  2. Learn to fly fish for muskie.
    1. Purchase rod, reel, line, leader
    2. Purchase / tie flies
    3. Study muskie fly fishing
    4. Fish for them
  3. Saltwater flyfish in Destin, FL.
  4. Continue fly tying – learn to tie 5 more patterns.
  5. Donate a box of my flies to the TU banquet.
  6. Float-fish the Susquehanna (4X)
  7. Make perfect fly casting practice a habit.
  8. Fish with friends, including at least 3 trips with new friends.
  9. Fly fish and/or attend fly fishing events 100 times this year.
  10. Learn to tie 3 new fishing knots.
  11. Fish the Salmon River – Spring, Fall, Winter.
  12. Night fish for trout.
  13. Fish marginal waters.
  14. Build my own fly rod.

2014 Goals

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2014 by stflyfisher

“A goal properly set is halfway reached”

Zig Ziglar

I never met Zig Ziglar during his lifetime on this good earth. Known best for his southern charm, zany quotes, and unending enthusiasm, he became successful as a salesman and then took off on his own as a motivational speaker, spreading the good word of “Zig”. I came to know of him courtesy of a co-worker named Lee back in the days when I worked for Texas Instruments. Lee introduced me to one of Zig’s foundation books, “See You at the Top”, and would often preach Zig’s message on success by quoting him throughout the work day. His sayings sometimes seemed corny, indeed, but they stuck to the point where I can still recite the likes of: “Don’t become a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific”, “You can have anything in your life, if you help others get what they want”, and “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine you altitude”.

zig-ziglar-244x300

It took a while for me to buy the message, to be honest. I was a little on guard – some of it seemed almost too ‘over the top’ and even Ned Flanderesque, but after reading the book and digesting it gradually, I began to like what I read and found that much of it rang true. These days I’m more a student of Dr. Stephen Covey, but Zig still occupies my heart and soul for his good hearted fire. It’s sad to say, but both Zig Ziglar and Dr. Stephen Covey passed away in 2012. They each left indelibly good marks on the world.

Dr. Covey and Zig Ziglar both believed in goals. And I obviously do too. In my last post, I promised the unveiling of my 2014 goals. I finished 2013 on an OK note in terms of goal completion, but vowing, I’ll do better…

And here they are:

1) Become a better nymph fisherman. Study the works of Dave Hughes (author of “Wet Flies”), Sylvester Nemes (author of “Soft Hackled Fly”), and George Daniel (author of “Dynamic Nymphing”). Buy better nymphing tackle.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish.

3) Improve my fly tying. Focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns:

a) Sulphur Soft Hackle

b) Caddis Sparkle Pupa

c) Murray’s Nymph

4) Donate a box of my own tied flies to the Annual Al Hazzard TU Banquet.

5) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego.

6) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Make perfect casting practice a habit.

7) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish. 

8) Learn to tie one new fishing knot. 

9) Fish the tributaries.

10) Night fish for trout. 

Absent from the list this year is ‘Catch a Lake Trout on a fly’. I pulled this one off the list as it is a hit or miss goal – a hard one to achieve. Instead, I added ‘Fish the tributaries’, which could result in catching a laker, brown, steelhead, or landlocked salmon. If I do better at fishing the tribs more often, I’m sure to meet Mr. Laker one of these days. I also added “to become a better nymph fisherman” as it is something I love to do, and I met some good success in 2013 focusing on it.

I’ll close by wishing everyone a successful fly fishing year in 2014, however they may define it, and leave with the following ‘Ziggish’ quote of LCDR Harry G Ulrich, III, Executive Officer of my beloved USS Stark (FFG-31), who often exhorted his junior officers with the following:

“Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best”

2013, going, going, gone…

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by stflyfisher

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Confucius

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius140548.html#2tXJx80siqreKagy.99

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.

Confucius

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius140548.html#2tXJx80siqreKagy.99

Last year was not a great writing year, and for that I truly apologize. As we all often do, I started the year with good intentions, but putting pen to internet paper was a struggle in 2013, partly due to another posting obligation on my Examiner.com site, partly due to fishing, and partly due to the added time of my long distance work commute (no, I don’t write for a living just yet…). I promise, with hand placed on the good book, that you’ll see many more posts on my beloved blog in 2014 – certainly more than the woeful eight that I sent out to the blogosphere in 2013.

While my blogging was pretty pathetic, my completion of 2013 goals was at least somewhat better. Most of my followers know I try to start the year setting some fly fishing goals and then end the year with a look back on how well I did. I’m a big believer in goals, not so much to be able to tout achievements, but to make me think about how to improve as a fly fisherman, along the lines of the late President & General Eisenhower, who once said:

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

Brad_Ike_Patton

Goal-setting, after all, requires planning, and the act of planning, in turn, makes one think about what, where, and how to improve. Having said that, it’s still nice to look back and see if one did improve the way they planned and hoped.

For 2013, I’ll rate myself a 4.5 out of 10 for completion on the goals I posted. Here’s the detail on my accounting:

1) Catch a lake trout on the fly – lake run or from the lake. Never happened.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish. I did catch blues and stripers, including a few dandies, but not on a fly.

3) Begin fly tying – focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns. Here’s a goal I did achieve. I began fly tying in earnest and tied the following patterns:

a) Wooly Bugger – I caught quite a few largemouth bass and smallmouth bass on the bugger patterns I tied. I experimented quite a bit with color and added features such as weight, flash, and even rubber legs.

b) Picket Pin – My first fish of the season, and the first on a fly tied with my own hands, was a fat brown from Cayuga Creek that slammed the fly as it drifted through a nice run. I caught a lot of trout on my own version of this venerable pattern.

c) Maribou Streamer – I LDR’d a nice brown with this classic pattern. I’m feeling generous to myself (shouldn’t we all be, after all?) so I’ll count that as “catching” a fish on the fly…

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego. I did not float the Susky once, and probably fished it only a half dozen times, at most, due to very high water over much of the summer. I’ll keep this one on the list for 2014.

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul. Here’s another goal I achieved. I learned to single and double haul and I’m a better caster overall (sounds like a Dr. Suess rhyme!), but still retain some bad habits. I’ll keep a casting improvement goal on 2014’s goal list.

6) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish. I’m proud to say I did well with this goal, managing to dedicate 8 outings with friends & family. I also enjoyed meeting and fishing with a few good fishermen while on the water.

7) Learn to tie one new fishing knot. I perfected the non-slip mono knot and came up with a variation of it that works quite well in my opinion.

8) Fish for steelhead. I’ll take 50% credit for trying on this goal. I intended to venture forth twice for steelhead with my good friend Dan, but both times the weather canned the trip. I’ll keep this goal for 2014.

9) Fish Handsome Brook. Nope – this one got away on me…

10) Night fish for trout. Didn’t happen but I’ll keep this for 2014.

I projected last year that if I could accomplish 6 to 7 of these 10 goals, it would be a good year. Accomplishing 4.5 would therefore make it a marginally OK year, but again, it’s not so much about the goals, but the act of becoming a better fisherman in all ways.

I’ll soon be revising my 2014 goals based on the above and possibly add some new areas for growth as a fly fisherman. Stay tuned for that post as well as one on 2013, where I’ll make a ‘year in review’ post…

Fly Fishing Goals and World’s Most Interesting Man…

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on February 8, 2013 by stflyfisher

My grandfather on my father’s side was a most interesting man, but not “most interesting” in the zany way a successful Dos Equis beer ad has been running recently…

My grandfather had less hair, but the skin tone is right on…

He wasn’t known for bowling overhand, sky-diving in a kayak, or shooing a pet mountain lion from his kitchen counter, but he was most interesting in his mannerisms and the way obscure factoids on his life would pop up in conversation. There are pictures of him, for example, on his “ersten tag” (first day) in Kindergarten – in Germany that is. Mind you, he lived in Staten Island, NY, the only child in a rather wealthy family. There are pictures of him in full Ivy League raccoon coat regalia, and pictures of him standing most majestically atop some hill in Mexico, his side arm prominently displayed (he apparently had spent time with a rich Uncle in Mexico at a silver mine back in the Pancho Villa days)….

Pancho Villa – one most interesting man crosses another…

…and pictures of him in front of his freshman alma mater, RPI. He was apparently kicked out of school for being more partial to parties and other such collegiate fun than his studies.

He was a quiet man, but his mind was anything but quiet. He was both curious and fascinated by absolutely everything and when I would visit with him in his golden years, he’d frequently remark, “explain to me Robert, how do they do that?…”

One of his great quotes, in response to anything that required his time and attention, was; “I’m studying it…” Though he was definitely in the running for patron saint of procrastination, the old man was very smart and a relentless student of life which kept his mind as sharp as a razor until his dying day at the age of 95.

As covered in a post last year, I decided to re-write my fly fishing goals. My intentions were good, and sadly, I can’t even use my grandfather’s procrastination veil as an excuse. I never did publish them last year, no less re-write them, as a matter of fact. So, as promised most recently, I’ll give it another go, here:

1) Catch a lake trout on the fly – lake run or from the lake.

2) Catch one of the following saltwater game-fish on the fly: a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish.

3) Begin fly tying – focus on perfecting three patterns, with a goal to catch fish with these patterns.

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; Campville to Owego. There’s some good water back there.

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul.

6) Fish with friends – enjoy their company and learn new skills and places to fish.

7) Learn to tie one new fishing knot.

8) Fish for steelhead. Did it once in 2012 – do it more in 2013.

9) Fish Handsome Brook. Fish it a full day, good and hard with a lunch break at Gilligan’s Island (best burgers and ice cream around!).

10) Night fish for trout. Always wanted to do this!

Life is short. A day not fished is a day never to be fished. If I can accomplish 6 to 7 of these goals, it will be a good year, indeed. Here’s to 2013, tight lines, bent rods, and plenty of head shakes…

 

2012 Goals

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on January 17, 2012 by stflyfisher

The phrase “time flies” may be cliche, but time, it seems, truly does have wings, and even more-so, accelerates like the dive of a falcon as one gets older. On the eve of my 50th birthday, I recall my mother telling me, “if you think 50 seems old, wait until your oldest child turns 50”. Time’s march is indeed, relentless.

So here we are at the start of 2012 – another year and one in its infancy. And the exciting thing about that is that no matter how old one might be, we all get to plunge into it with a clean slate. I recall a New Year’s party scene from the movie Forrest Gump where a blonde bimbo enthusiastically whispers in Forrest’s ear; “don’t you just love New Year’s – you get another chance to start all over again”…

...another chance to start all over again...

In my own life, I start every year much the same – spending New Years Day in “seclusion” – or as some in my family would say – in my “cone of silence”…

Goal setting the Get Smart way...

Free from distractions, I once again eagerly put pen to paper to plan out the year. At least some of that planning is related to fly fishing. The end result is a bucket list of goals.

Way back in 2010, under the magical qualities of a rather high quality dry gin martini, I had enough chutzpah to actually publish those goals. Revisiting them has been more than humbling, to wit:

1) Purchase and set up an 8 weight fly fishing rig (fly rod / reel / line) for Finger Lake and Great Lakes tribs. Accomplished thanks to the fine folks at JP Ross Fly Rods in Utica, NY!

2) Catch the following “firsts” on the fly; a steelhead, lake trout, and a bluefish, striped bass, or weakfish. I did catch several steelhead on a guided outing with NY State Fly Fishing Guide Loren Williams (a post on this trip is forthcoming), however, none of the other species have been caught to date…

3) Begin fly tying – focus on the Picket Pin, Wooly Bugger, and Egg and Worm Patterns. Not even close…

4) Float fish the Susquehanna; a) Binghamton to Vestal Park, b) Vestal Park to Campville, and c) Campville to Owego. I’ve yet to float the river again since Kelly’s Excellent Canoe Adventure. I should get a “pass” on this goal for 2011, given the high river levels in general and the flooding that wiped out the fall smallmouth bass fishing…

5) Practice and improve my casting distance and accuracy.  Learn to single haul and double haul. A zippo…

6) Purchase my PA fishing license and explore, fish, and learn PA creeks and rivers. I did purchase the “pee-yay” license in 2010 and did some trout fishing on a few creeks such as the Loyalsock, Muncy, and the South Branch of the Tunkhannock.

7) Learn and use the following knots:  Non-Slip Mono Knot, Palomar Knot, Improved Turtle Knot, and Perfection Loop.  Learn to tie my own leaders. I have mastered the Non-Slip Mono Knot and Perfection Loop, but need to work on the others…

Overall, a lackluster accounting, and no wonder, as 2011 was not a great year for the Southern Tier Fly Fisher. As will be covered in a future post looking back on the year, water was actually a problem much of the year. Precipitation plagued the region: we ended with close to double the norm for the year.

So what’s a fly fisher to do?

Option 1 – Delete the 2010 goals post.

Option 2 – Forget goals altogether.

Option 3 – Forget 2010 and 2011, rewrite my goals for 2012, and get back in the water.

I noodled these questions with every swill of Hendricks gin and decided to consult literature on the subject. I found a myriad of advice on the internet, and all of it, through the ages, suggested Option 3. Here’s just a sampling:

“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out.” Ronald Reagan

“Lee Wulff was born in Valdez, Alaska on February 10, 1905 and began fishing almost as soon as he could walk. During the rest of his life, until the final day, April 29, 1991, when he died at the controls of his Super Cub airplane, Lee furiously and fearlessly pursued lofty goals in conservation, innovative fly fishing techniques and tackle, habitat protection and fisheries management.” On the life of Lee Wulff…

As a special challenge, I recently set myself the goal of catching an Atlantic salmon of ten pounds or over on a #28 hook… Lee Wulff

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning

“Without some goal and some effort to reach it, no man can live.” Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky

“In philosophy, it is not the attainment of the goal that matters, it is the things that are met with by the way.”Henry Havelock Ellis

“Hitch your wagon to a star.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.”John Wolfgang von Goethe

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his own dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

And so, fellow anglers, I have decided to re-write my goals – possibly pare them down a bit, removing those that occupy that space beyond possibility, replacing them with other goals just within reach. I’ll take those trout rising a little closer and leave the big boys for later on, when my cast is stronger.  You’ll see what I’m talking about just around the bend…

Loyalsock Creek

Posted in Fishing Conditions, Fishing Reports, Trout Fishing with tags , , on April 29, 2010 by stflyfisher

At least a few of my loyal readers are familiar with one of my goals for 2010: to fly fish PA waters. This latest of adventures begins with a previous fishing visit – some 2 years ago – before I’d ever explored the PA fishing wilderness. Back then, Sr. Staff Hydrologist Dan and I were barely acquainted fly fishing buddies and his choice for my first fly fishing experience in PA waters was a pre-season visit to the Delayed Harvest / Artificial Lures Only (DH / ALO) section of the Loyalsock.

Loyalsock Creek, known to keystone flyfishers as “the sock”, is bigger water than many might expect. It is more a river than a creek and those visiting it should be sure to pack chest waders and a 9 foot 4 weight or 5 weight outfit. That first visit, though beautiful in both the weather and the picturesque surroundings, was fishless, and Dan was discouraged, to say the least. But what I brought back was a very much heightened awareness to the fly fishing possibilities “down south” in Pee-Ay” as they say…

Fast forward to just 2 weeks ago. Color the day with similar weather and add more water. Both Dan and I arrived in the parking section, encouraged by the presence of a few other anglers. We hiked upstream, since all of the other anglers were fishing just below the access.

Dan found the long run we had fished 2 years before, and though it was flowing beautiful and clear, there was nothing doing there. We saw not a fish and had no strikes on a variety of nymphs. So we headed upstream further, taking a logging road, and arriving at a location that Dan swore would change our luck.

Dan was right about the luck, but wrong about the riffle. “What the hell…” were the words he uttered as we descended the bank and looked over long flat water with only a hint of current. It’s a little cliche, but nonetheless true, that the only thing one can depend on with creeks, streams, and rivers, is that they change.

On the other side of the “island” that separates the Loyalsock at this spot was some nice water, and it was here that “our”, or I should say, Dan’s luck changed for the better.

Dan playing the "icebreaker" rainbow...

The beadhead hare’s ear nymph he was using seemed to entice one gorgeous holdover rainbow…

This picture doesn't do this rainbow justice.

We continued to fish this upper stretch of the DH / ALO stretch of the Loyalsock without any more luck. Around noon, we returned to the parking area where we chatted with an older gentleman, named Tom, who theorized that the stocking truck was unable to access the upper stretches of the creek, and dumped most of the fish below us, where the rest of the anglers had been fishing. Tom seemed like a knowledgeable angler, a guy from PA who fished the Loyalsock every year around this time, and often did well. Somehow our conversation drifted off to his past as an Air Force F4 pilot. The effusive Tom told a story of flying low over a turkey farm in Alabama, and the roar of his Phantom’s twin GE J79 engines and their combined 35,000 lbf of thrust in full afterburner made such a hellacious roar that $80,000 dollars worth of commercial turkeys stampeded to one end of their barn and trampled each other to death! Needless to say, pilot Tom got a talking to over that mission.

After finishing lunch and bidding Tom a good day, Dan and I headed downstream from the access. Tom had portrayed this water as West Branch Delaware-like – meaning big, deep, and relatively flat water – and he was not far off the mark. Not long after wading in chest deep, a tan caddis hatch took off and trout started showing themselves with random rises. Stoneflies joined in the festivities, and eventually mayflies also took flight. Fishing was frustrating to say the least. Dan landed another nice rainbow and I missed two fish, but the fish were extremely selective. By around 3 pm that 44 – 46 degree water and cold wind had taken its toll and we gave up the ghost.

Was the Loyalsock “loyal” to Dan’s original claims? Well, not really, but this last trip at least showed promise. As we pulled away from the parking access, Dan, himself, said it seemed we did better when we fished apart. So, I’ll have my sights set on a return to this pretty river, but maybe this time, I’ll go it alone, to truly test “the sock”…