Explore | Learn | Return

Feeling boxed in with the altering climate, I walked into the sunroom to see Joey with an expression that matched my very own frame of mind — stressed.

“Need to go for a hike?” I requested my ten-year-old son.

He perked up and instantly reached for a sweatshirt. “Yeah, Dad!” Joey yelled.

And we had been out the door in 5 minutes.

“Let’s go someplace somewhat completely different right this moment,” I mentioned to him.

So on the backside of the driveway I turned left as a substitute of proper. Then on the bridge a couple of minutes later, I headed upstream as a substitute of down.

We adopted a highway that parallels a no-name creek for ten miles. Joey peered throughout the fallow fields, via leafless branches of standing maples, attempting to get a glimpse of the water. All of the whereas, I talked to him about having the guts of an explorer.

Then as I eased the truck off the blacktop, right into a smooth gravely mud, Joey sat attentively, leaning ahead to see forward. And the place the gravel lastly touched the grass, we rolled to a cease.

“What’s this?” he requested.

“Plum Grove,” I mentioned. “I don’t suppose I’ve ever taken you right here earlier than. Proper?”

“Huh uh.” Joey shook his head.

Because the doorways closed behind us, I advised my son what I knew would peak his curiosity much more. “It’ll be a very good journey, buddy!” And it was.

READ: Troutbitten | Fifty Tips #3 — Fish New Waters

Once you first transfer to this space, the miles of river may appear countless, like you might fish for the remainder of your life and by no means see all of it. However given a pair a long time of exhausting fishing, you might begin to really feel fairly the alternative. The miles of twisting rivers and rambling streams change into your property, and each throughout the perimeter of an affordable driving distance is mentally marked as both explored and fishy or explored and fishless. Till finally, the record of the unexplored disappears.

And to maintain a way of journey, your urge to rethink the marginal water overtakes your parallel urge to go for the certain factor. Looking for locations past the plain marks on the map turns into a part of what you do, not solely on fishing journeys, however in your days off too.

In order Joey and I navigated the deer path adjoining to the river, I famous the ice.


This limestone area is awash in spring water, seeping from the bottom in locations massive and small. The largest springs right here have names and draw consideration. The small springs are identified solely to locals — and solely to observant ones at that. You see, along with the well-known limestoners written about within the information books, we now have a number of freestone streams. And a few of them are marginal at greatest. They’re locations that maintain just a few trout for the exploring fisherman — for the wanderer — for the adventurer. Plum Grove warms in the summertime and freezes within the winter — however not all of it. And I do know it holds trout that develop, let’s say . . . bigger than common.

I’d fished these few miles of Plum Grove for years, with intriguing however spotty success. This piece of river was an unsolved thriller looking for extra leads. And right this moment was simply the suitable day to assemble that knowledge.

Joey and I ended on the river’s edge. We slid rocks throughout the shelf-ice for some time, taking part in our redneck model of shuffleboard. Within the slowest swimming pools, the flat icy sheet stretched all the best way throughout. However even within the sooner runs, slush fashioned on the edges.

Far downstream, although, the water was huge open and ice free.

“Hey, do you see that vast sycamore that’s fallen within the water down on the bend?” I requested Joey.

“Yeah, let’s stroll down there,” he nodded.

So we did.

Troutbitten Josh Darling Pics 6

They don’t all make it via the winter. Picture by Josh Darling.

Joey walked forward as I lagged behind to scan the river. And he was the primary to see it. Only a hundred yards beneath our shuffleboard recreation, Joey pointed to the far financial institution and requested, “What’s that little stream referred to as?”

We stopped, and I smiled.

“It doesn’t have a reputation, Joe. In reality, it’s probably not a stream. It’s a spring. Look. There’s hardly a ditch the place the water is available in. However with all of the rivers so excessive this winter, that spring is overflowing, sufficient that we are able to see it pouring into the river like that.”

“Wow, that’s cool!” He mentioned. Then he turned downstream. “Hey, take a look at all of the inexperienced stuff down right here . . .”

Joey ran forward to search out one other spring, this time on our personal financial institution. The water seeped from an undercut, a nondescript piece of riverbank with spring water gushing into the primary circulation. The intense inexperienced algae was over-saturated, visually startling towards the uninteresting whitewash of winter.

“Good,” I mentioned. “So right here’s one other spring. And there are in all probability extra springs that come up proper in the course of the riverbed.”

I pointed again upstream a bit.

“And look, Joey. That is the place the ice breaks up. That is the place the river is hotter than the remaining. This shot of spring water modifications the temperature and the chemistry of the water beneath it. It’s hotter now, and within the summertime it’ll be . . .”

“Colder!” Joey completed my level. “So that is the place all of the trout will hang around throughout droughts and in August and stuff.”

“You bought it.” I nodded. “And when the water is at regular ranges, you’ll be able to’t see these springs, or this inexperienced or any of it.”

I stood beside Joey and motioned to the river above and beneath.

“I’ve fished via right here a dozen instances,” I mentioned. “And I by no means knew about these spring seeps. However I do now. And I’m certain there’s water from underground coming into this part all 12 months lengthy.”

“Yeah, now we realized about it,” Joey mentioned.

“That’s proper, bud. And now we’ll return.”

Troutbitten Austin Dando Limit

Picture by Austin Dando

ELR Sticker Mockup 1024 with shadow

This is the Explore | Learn | Return sticker. You can find it in the Troutbitten Shop HERE.


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Benefit from the day.
Domenick Swentosky
[email protected]


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