Family affair

Trout fishing can be a family affair | George Block

Trout season is fast approaching. I thought back to a day when my whole family was fishing in the small but beautiful stream of Colgrove.

It was early spring as we bounced along the rutted logging road up the big McKean County mountain. It is located 10.3 km from the town of Smethport.

We had fished this creek before catching such great Brookies that we decided to go back and explore it a little further upstream. The creek was then wild and uninhabited with few fishermen on its banks. The creek itself is small but clean and deep with nice pockets and cover. Native Brookies are plentiful and still around to this day.

We reached a place higher than where we had fished before, where someone shouted “Stop! Look at this beautiful hole. It was usually me, but it could have been Eileen. The kids were fighting over something and were a bit grumpy, but we were there. We piled in and each got their gear. Eileen urged everyone to watch out for snakes and we left.

I picked up Kathy and drove upstream while Eileen picked up Pat at the big hole. Kathy and I preferred to move, so that was the usual setup. We walked silently along the creek along the logging road, staying out of the ruts with one eye on the creek. When we were well upstream we cut towards the creek spacing out along the bank. I threw my rooster tail in a wide spot on the creek where I saw a nice undercut bank with some ripples. My daughter moved some space downstream to throw her worm over a tree that formed a small pond below. She would drift that worm and see what would happen.

Suddenly I had a big Brookie and we were fishing. Brook trout fight surprisingly hard with light tackle, and it’s fun to catch them. This trout fought well and was a nice 10 inch speckled trout. This would be our medium sized trout that day. Kathy had four hooked and in the basket, between 9 and 12 inches, in an hour. The grumpy look was gone and she was in her trout fishing element.

We just kept moving downstream, coming back to Eileen and Pat. I hooked a nice sized brown trout in a pool that I could almost jump into. But I could see that it was set back below the bank and had enough water to attract such trout.

We came back to Pat with a pot full of trout having a limited outlet. Eileen was shocked by a beautiful Brookie from very close to the same hole she had started. Pat had a very big Brookie that we all admired and everyone was happy.

I started cleaning the fish with the two children. When they finished, I looked up at Eileen, who was still fishing and catching Brookies and releasing them. “Well,” I asked him, “do you want me to clean yours?” “No,” she declared. “I let them all go.”

“What?” I asked. “Why?”

“Because I knew you and the kids would save all yours and we can’t eat that much tonight,” she replied.

I can’t argue with that logic now, can I?

So on the way home I dreamed of crispy fried trout while the kid rolled around in the bed of the truck for fun. The road, being very bumpy, I had to drive slowly but they loved bumping into it there saying it was better than Kennywood. They shouted and shouted and laughed up the road and you would have thought they were the closest friends, just for this moment. We stopped on the rough road to pick them up and drove through Smethport to the Dairy Queen on the way back to the cabin. Life was good.

Trout fishing is like that for us. A family business that now belongs to the children to pass on to the grandchildren. I hope you are preparing to take your family out this spring, they will be here soon enough.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.