It is already 68 degrees when I finish my breakfast. I already have the Harley packed to go fishing. All I have to do is decide what waders to bring and what rod. I decide to take the 4wt custom being the reel is already attached. I figure the water is going to be quite wadable without chest waders so I pack my hip waders in the back pack and strap it onto the back rest. I had just gotten a box of Sancho Panza double Maduro a couple of days ago and taken some along as I am ready for a good time. Great weather, Harley riding, trout fishing and good cigars, doesn’t get much better.
The ‘V’ twin comes to life as I sit on the stepped seat and let it warm up a bit. Out of the driveway I turn left on route 66 and head north towards Marienville. As I cruise along the roadway the cool morning air across my face awakens my senses like a second cup of coffee. Above me white clouds move lazily below the blue sky. The ‘V’ twin rumbles between my legs as I think about my plan.
They had stocked many of the smaller streams up north so I figured that there shouldn’t be too many people on Tionesta Creek, since it wasn’t stocked recently. Being that it’s still turkey season maybe those that fish won’t show up till after noon. I was hoping to get some solitude fishing before too many fishermen showed up.
As I cross Lynch Bridge there are 3 fly fishermen already fishing down creek. I turn right and head north on route 666. I’m surprised that no one is camping in the spot where I plan on fishing. I back the Springer down the short lane and turn the engine off. The peacefulness of the National Forest now surrounds me. I hear the riffling water and birds chirping. The sun is shining down and there isn’t a fisherman in sight.
I dress into my fishing gear and take a few cigars and place them in my Bonehead shirt pocket. I string up the fly rod and knot on a woolly bugger and head to the water.
The riffling shallows glitter under the sunshine. I slowly wade down creek casting now and then hoping for a bite in the shallows but it doesn’t happen. In the deeper water I stop as a bald eagle glides high above the forest trees across creek. The surface water flows with subtleness. A cool breeze gusts across the stream and the surface waters wrinkles distorting the few boulders upon the creek bed.
Minutes pass into hours as I can’t seem to find the right pattern to draw a strike. I know the trout are there but they aren’t very cooperative. A few small caddis flutter about and a trout rises sporadically but doesn’t continue to feed in any one spot. I try a few dry caddis but I can’t get them to rise for it.
The long cast drops my wet fly and nymph across stream and I loop a mend up creek and let the slow current drift the tandem flies down creek. A hard take and I quickly set the hook. The fish scurries and darts as I play him towards me. I have no net but am able to walk him to my hand. The first trout is a nice brook trout that I find took the Picket pin.
After releasing him I concentrate fishing the same location. It takes some time but I get another strike. A nice brown also takes the Picket pin.
The sun is about over my head so I figure it has to be about noon by now. The catching is slow but the solitude and charm of the stream keeps me content. Occasionally a kayak or canoe drifts along keeping their distance. They too are enjoying the beautiful weather in their own way.
I decide to wade down creek further and hopefully start catching a few trout more often. Not too far down creek I cast the bugger aside a riffle caused by a near surface boulder. I feel the line stop and I jerk up creek. I feel the fish pull with the current and swing downstream. I can tell its not big but fighting the current makes for good entertainment. Surprised I bring the smallmouth to hand.
Now I’m thinking. The water is warming up due to the warm sun. Maybe, just maybe I might be able to get into some smallmouth in the slow waters along the bank side. I wade up creek and get within casting distance of the slow water pool just out from the far bank.
After a few casts within the incoming water of the slow pool I visually see a couple of boulders within the deeper middle. My cast is on target just before the boulders. I let some slack out and the bugger drops deeper as it drifts towards the boulders. I keep the rod high not wanting to snag the boulders. The line straightens and I quickly set the hook. I see the water swirl beneath and he takes towards the far bank. I can tell this is a bigger fish as line unrolls off the spool. The rod tip flexes deeper into the shaft as the fish heads down creek. I keep good tension on him and bring in line when he gives me some leeway. Fighting the current I get him near me and could see I got a nice size red eye.
Now that deserves a cigar! I cup my hand and light up a Sancho Panza. The bold taste of the double Maduro is flavorful but the medium draw makes for a mellow smoke on the water.
After a bit more trying to hook up with another smallmouth I continue my way down creek fishing streamers.
My cast is midstream directly across from me. I let the bugger swing down creek and feel the hard strike as well as seeing the line pull outward. I give a tug to make sure the hook is set good. The fish battles vigorously in the current. After a short battle down creek I bring the rod up stream and he follows. I get him within hand reach but he takes off up and around me. After spinning 180 degrees I get the rod up and he splashes to the surface. The rainbow completes my triple crown, a brook trout, a brown and now a rainbow.
I catch only one more rainbow before heading up creek towards my bike. It has to be nearing 2:30 by now. I know I could change clothes and head somewhere else or just call it a day. Not ready to give up I decide to walk the road up creek. As I walk along the road I make notes of the deeper water mid stream and towards the roadside. Up a ways I step over the guardrail and carefully make my way down to the creek again. With a woolly bugger I take my time fishing down stream. You would have thought someone rang the dinner bell. The rainbows were hungry and I have a good time for the next hour catching trout on the bugger and even a few on a wet fly
By the time I reach the bank, below my cycle, my stomach is telling me it is time to eat and my casting shoulder is telling me it is time to take a rest.
I pop open a Straub Helles as I change clothes. The beer isn’t as cold as I would have liked but it quenches my thirst. After I get everything secure on the Harley it is time to head for some cold beer and wings.
The Harley rumbles to life, breaking the quietness, and I cruise down 666 and then towards the Kelly Hotel.
It turned out to be one Helles of a good time. Trout, cigars, smallmouth bass, a warm cycle ride and good food!!