Dogged by hot weather and dry conditions, it was good that the valley got some welcome relief from the recent afternoon thunder storms. I am not a big fan of hot and humid conditions and admit that I stay close to home during these periods. However, thanks to the recent change I managed to get in some quality time on a favorite stream.

The other morning, I sneaked out on the dog and got in a couple of hours of quality time. I got an early start, at least for me, and was on the river before 8 a.m. The evening storm had added some much-needed water to the stream; perhaps a little more than I had anticipated. However, I was there and didn’t want to go home without casting a line.

This time of year, I just about always wade wet; however, the temperature had fallen quite a bit since the day before and I put on my waders. I was lucky that they were still in the car along with my boots. After a few tentative steps in the water, I reminded myself that I really need to purchase a wading staff.

Apparently, the increase in water levels did not deter the trout as I managed to hook up in the very first pool I came to. And my luck continued as I worked my downstream. The high water kept me from fishing dries and I fished a small Micky Finn bucktail.

An old friend once said: “You will know right off if there are brook trout in a pool, if you drag a Micky Finn through it.” Nothing could have been truer this morning. The trout were eager to take my offering and I hooked up in just about every pool I fished through.

After a while, I came to a comfortable-looking rock and sat down to contemplate the morning. In days gone by, I would probably have lit up a cigarette or fired up a pipe. Remember when just about every magazine illustration of a trout fisherman depicted him with a pipe in his mouth? Thankfully those days are over, at least for me, but every so often I get to hankering for a smoke.

Although this morning I was alone, I have noticed that there seems to be a lot more fishermen on the water this summer. I think that the COVID-19 virus has had an effect on this and a lot of people are just happy to be outside again. I have no scientific proof of this, and I could find no data that showed an increase of fishing licenses sales. My proof is just some casual observation on my part. This summer I have seen anglers in places I have never seen anybody fish before.

I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly, Fish and Game would benefit from some extra sales, and if you are in the tackle business it is not a bad thing. During the shutdown this spring, due to the virus, one positive thing was the explosion of wildlife returning to areas where not often seen. Park rangers in Yellowstone National Park noted that the closure had added to the activity of wildlife and that the park was getting a needed break. Wildlife also returned to urban areas all over the country.

Maybe there was a missed opportunity that the virus provided us and we failed to see it. COVID is a dreadful thing and has caused unmeasurable amounts of damage to human life. I am in no way trying to infer that this was a good thing or take it lightly.

What I am saying is that maybe it was nature’s way of saying: “It doesn’t hurt to take a break every so often and let things cool off.”

Maybe we should be looking at ways to decrease access to our natural areas. One need look no further than parking areas near trailheads in the White Mountains. On every weekend, cars line the roadway because the parking areas are full. The Saco River overflows with plastic tubes just about every weekend during the summer.

This past holiday weekend state boat launches were overflowing. At the boat launch on Route 25 in Ossipee, cars with boat trailers lined the highway. None of this can be a good thing in the long run. It wouldn’t hurt for mankind to find a soft rock and set back for a while and take a long look at what we are doing to ourselves and the world around us. It’s probably a good idea to pass on the smoke.

See you on the river.

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