I was introduced to this little gem of a mountain stream last May by my good friend Marty and it has quickly become my favorite SNP fishing destination. It's the major tributary of a much more popular stream and although it sees its fair share of hikers, I have never encountered another angler while fishing here. If you look at this little creek on a map, you'll notice right away that it doesn't zig-zag or meander its way down the mountain. Instead, it rockets straight downhill in a series of cascades, waterfalls and plunge pools that make for ideal brook trout habitat and also one heck of a workout for the fisherman.
The forecast for the weekend was sunny skies with temps in the 50s, and I was planning on taking full advantage of the sweet weather. So on Saturday morning, I loaded up the truck with gear and pointed myself towards my new favorite SNP spot. Arriving at the parking lot on the lower Park bounday at 9:00am, I strung up my little 7' Granger Victory and hit the trail for the 1/2 mile hike to where the fishin' starts.
The day turned out to be pretty uneventful (especially in the fish catching department) with one exception. I had been fishing for maybe 5 minutes when, out of nowhere, a softball sized rock exploded into the middle of the pool I had been standing in, shattering the silence and sending me diving for cover. After I checked my waders for skid marks and looked around to make sure nobody was playing a dirty joke on me, I glanced up and saw this whitetail deer doing its best impression of a mountain goat.
The deer was casually eating grass on the cliff face about 30' above me and seemed oblivious to the fact that it had just scared the crap out me, almost literally, by kicking a rock loose and sending it plummeting towards me below. I just stood there and watched for about 10 minutes, amazed at how this deer had managed to get itself into this position. Then I reflected on what would have happened had the rock landed a few feet to the left. Images of the old Road Runner cartoon flashed through my head. You know...the one where Wiley Coyote gets whacked in the noggin' with a rock:
All that was left to complete the scene was for this deer to go "meep meep" and take off at 100 miles per hour (It's amazing the places your mind will wander to when you're fishing alone in the backcountry).
I eventually regained my wits, continued on and was rewarded at the next pool with this little beauty. I think it was a John Gierach quote where he said that brook trout are one of those rare things you sometimes see in nature that are just a lot prettier than they actually need to be. I couldn't agree more.
So I fished out the day and even though I managed only a few more brookies, I left with a sense of satisfaction. Solitude, beautiful scenery and wild trout are 3 reasons why I'll be back to my new favorite Park stream...even if the deer are trying to kill me.