8-29-2020 Valley Angler-Trout stream

A trout stream untouched by man. (BILL THOMPSON PHOTO)

Forty-eight degrees the other morning at the house, and I had to find a blanket the night before. There is a change in the air. To be honest, I don’t care for 90-degree days and high humidity and neither do trout.

Water levels are drastically low, and we need a steady rain. We have had some dramatic storms lately; however, they have provided little relief for our water starved streams and ponds. My favorite trout pond is the lowest it has been in years and the land owner says he can’t remember it being this low.

I did venture out this past week and spent some time on a local stream. As expected, the water was low and the water temperatures were quite high in the slower areas.

I made a few halfhearted casts in a couple of the deeper pools and did manage to rise a trout or two. It was obvious that the trout were as about as enthusiastic as I was. In the end, I felt guilty and I placed the fly in the hook holder and quite fishing.

That didn’t mean that my day was over. For the next hour, I continued to make my way upstream and enjoy my time on the water. There is a lot to see when you are not concentrated on fishing and it was nice to be far from the madding crowd. I was not the first to be here and some of those before me had left their mark.

I came upon a place that was someone’s swimming hole. There was no one there at the time, but there was no question they had been there. The first sign was several rock cairns had been placed along the side of the river and a small dam had been built.

These small engineering feats were, no doubt, the work of children. At first glance, these structures seem harmless enough, but they are detrimental to small streams and should be discouraged. Building cairns has become popular in the last few years, and they have become obsession with some.

Cairns do have a purpose and when used to make trails, and it makes perfect sense to do so. However, they do harm wildlife and are a blight in natural areas. In our National Parks, a great deal of time is spent by rangers removing these structures. The same holds true for dam construction. Many of these are not the work of children and are made by adults to enhance their swimming holes. It should be pointed out that it is illegal to build these obstructions.

I worked my way downstream and eventually back to my car. I put my rod away and changed back into my street shoes. The sun was already heading to the horizon and I was reminded that summer was almost over. There was a twinge of sadness and then I remembered that some of the best fishing of the year was just around the corner.

The recent hurricanes in the gulf will bring some needed rain to the valley and help freshen up our streams. Cooler days will bring cooler water and more active trout.

September is my favorite month for fishing. There is that since of urgency, as soon trout season will be over. My advice is to savor the next few weeks and fish as much as you can.

See you on the river.

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