There's been a chill in the air for a few weeks now. The leaves had started changing from green to gold. The light in the evening has a new, warmer glow to it. It's the final days of summer.
Our Indian summer started a day or two ago and is expected to last a week. It's the last, final fight that summer is putting up.
But we're all sick of her.
We're sick of the rivers reaching the 70s.
We're sick of watching lethargic and dead trout.
We're mostly sick of her starving us of rain.
We're sick of summer.
We took a day to catch our brownies all colored up before the real chill in the air and the spawn begins. It was nice to visit them and notice their decorative colors and feel their feisty spirit at the end of your rod.
There’s something special to me about the brown trout. I’ve always found them more fascinating than the other species. I don’t really know why. There’s just something about them.
I hope they get a good, cold fall. I hope they are undisturbed during the spawn. I hope people take the time to look where they’re walking. I hope that next year I’ll have a whole new generation of browns to be infatuated with.
I hope summer leaves us be so all the magic fall has to offer can finally take over.
You know that special creek? That one you go to time and time again because it seems like there’s something magical about it? It isn’t a particularly popular body of water, in fact most people don’t know about it, and you really like it that way. You aren’t going to catch a 27 inch brown trout out of it and you probably aren’t going to catch hundreds of fish a day either. It’s not the absolute most beautiful creek that has ever been and hopefully it’ll never end up in the “top 100 streams to fish.” It’s a creek that doesn’t ever seem to fail me. A place where I feel like I know every brook trout personally, and maybe by now I do.
I know that every year, mid September, I get to go visit my brook trout, all decorated for the season. I know that during this time their fins will almost perfectly match the color of the maple trees in the distance. Their yellows will burn so bright they match the golden light that fall brings with it every year. I know that I only have a few short weeks to visit them before I have to leave them alone for a while to work their magic and bring me a whole new generation of trout to meet next year. I know that because this is my creek.
In reality it isn’t just my creek, I don’t own it, no one does. It’s a part of one of our National Parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Every year hundreds of people come to visit her and see all that she has to offer, especially in the fall. We all have the chance to get to see the proud and glorious native brook trout, small as he may be, all painted up for the upcoming spawn. It’s a gift they give us every year, getting to see them that way.
I often wonder what I’d do if I didn’t get to experience that every year. Or what I’d do if I couldn’t go visit them in the spring or summer either. I’m not sure I’d be the same. You see, this creek is where I go to forget about the world. It’s where I go to find myself when I've forgotten who I am. It’s where I get to connect to the very heart of nature, hold him in my hand, thank him for all he has taught me, and return him to his creek he so graciously shares with me. This creek flows through my veins every bit as much as my own blood.
This creek is my public land.
Jacob is a fly fishing guide with a passion for conservation and brook trout. He is an accomplished rod builder and restorationist.
Jillian is an outdoor photographer and blogger, using her voice for Public Lands and Cold Water Conservation. She specializes in trying to out fish jacob whenever she puts the camera down.