Saturday, October 24, 2009
As I drove across the county yesterday, I was struck by the amazing combination of cool overcast morning light, the opening salvos of brilliant fall color, and their combined effects through my polarized sunglasses. It felt like I was driving through an impressionist watercolor painting. That visual imprint set the tone for the day and for the images in this post.
I was on my way to find the Rocky River, a small flash stream located some fifteen miles west of here. Recently, I happened upon a small brochure distributed by the Rocky River Heritage Foundation that described the waterway as "37 miles of beautiful pools and riffles resembling a mountain stream" and it seemed worth a short trip to check it out.
Knowing nothing about the river, I chose to visit a section called Dragonfly Riffles, both because it was easily accessed from a state road and because the name spoke to me. Dragonfly Riffles is so named because the Rocky supposedly has the world’s largest population of the septimus clubtail dragonfly and, despite the lateness of the season, I did happen to see one. Sad to say, while it might be rare, compared to the graceful ultralight damselfly, it's a chunky flying brick.
As the Rocky is a flash river and all of the waterways in the area are very low right now for lack of rain, I expected and found the stretch to be more trickle than riffle. Low flow left lots of shallows and lots of bold green algae growth, not particularly conducive to good fishing, but lovely to look at. Unsure of what I would find, I had brought my 6wt bass rod and, for it's first trip out, my new 2wt.
The 2wt got the work, catching a half-dozen small sunfish, found only in moving water around the occasional tiny plunge pools. There were some larger, deeper sections, but I saw no fish in them, perhaps for lack of oxygen due to no flow and active algae. Overall, I saw no fish larger than 4 or 5 inches and none with bass profiles. Considering the characteristics of the river, I am not surprised.
Despite the absence of any larger fish, I had a delightful morning rock hopping, occasionally wet wading, getting used to the delicate 2wt for upcoming blueline trout opportunities, and generally enjoying the exploration of a pretty little stream on a beautiful fall morning. I'll probably find my way back someday, perhaps when I know the water is up or maybe to check out another stretch of the river.
Or maybe I'll come back just to see more of them flying bricks.
Note: Be sure to click on each of the images to fully appreciate the watercolor effect.