My Grandfather's Water
by Matt Chapple
My Grandfather's water was very quiet and lightly fished, far from heavily traveled roads or where people lived, where all you could here was the wind and the water. My Grandfather's water was picturesque, the water was clear with many rock formations with hemlocks and alders along its banks. My Grandfather's water was cold all summer long and was a good place for brook trout to live. The brook trout where not big but eager to take a fly. My Grandfather's favorite fly was a Bee imitation called the McGinty, which he used to catch brook trout both on the surface and below the surface of the water. Best of all my Grandfather's water was shared by him with me and this is a place I will never forget.
I would wake to the delightful smell of bacon, eggs and fresh squeezed orange juice and the excitement of a child at Christmas time but this gift was a trip to catch brookies. It was the beginning of a day of fly fishing for brook trout with grandpa. I would go to the kitchen and he had prepared a full breakfast as we would need as much energy as we could get. I couldn't eat my breakfast fast enough I figured the faster I finished the sooner we would be on the water. We loaded our gear and climbed into his Ford LTD. A very comfortable ride to the stream. The sun was just coming up as we turned at the landmark cedar hedge. It was only a short drive now. We crossed the bridge slowly and I could hear the babble of the creek. The stream is a pretty little stream with sand and boulders surrounded by alders and hemlocks. The water is crystal clear and there are pockets of grass growing from the bottom of the stream and I know there are brook trout in the cool clear water. Brook trout just about everywhere in the stream.
Putting on our gear grandpa said " I will fish upstream from the bridge and you try downstream." This is the way things went on a trip with grandpa. And every time I would fish for quite a long time. Catching beautiful little brook trout on adams, ants and wet flies. I would fish quite a ways from the bridge always knowing how to get back, just follow the stream back. And I eventually would follow the stream back and see how grandpa was doing.
The way I learned much of what I know about catching trout I learned by watching grandpa fish. This would happen when I would finally make my way back to the bridge and he would not be there. So I would make my way up where he was fishing, which was often times quite a long hike, and then I would watch. Never frustrated, never in a hurry he would work the water with a swinging fly, then a dry fly and he would catch trout with a smile or if one got off prematurely, he would laugh. So I would watch and gather ideas for the next stop because this was only the beginning. We would fish another spot after lunch.
Lunch was by a small lake on the way to the next crossing of the brook. Kielbasa and cheese with mustard and hot soup from a thermos. And it was delicious. On one trip a bug flew in my soup as I was getting ready to take a sip and I said something like "yuk a bug flew in my soup." Grandpa responded by saying "a little meat in your soup is not going to hurt." I still took the bug out though.
After lunch we would fish two more spots along the creek each just as beautiful as the next. We would split for an hour or two. But I would always go looking for Grandpa first and I would find him casting and working the water and sometimes I would see him catch a trout.
This article is dedicated to the memory of my Grandfather.