This is a short, true tale about dry fly angling brown trout of the Chittenango River, in Madison County, New York by my friend Bob Gerling, who works at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum.
The story begins the end of 2009.
Chapter I. The gift of a book: Sex, Death and Fly Fishing by John Gierach. This guy knows how to write and most certainly how to fish. Ever read a book, or more likely an article, about fishing? They catch everything no matter the weather, the time, the place or the season. I say to myself, why couldn’t that be me just once?
Chapter II. The gift of the pole and reel. That’s right, early in 2010 I visited my cousin Jim in Houston and he invited me to return home with an extra fly fishing outfit from his father-in-law’s estate. Already 2010 is shaping up. How can I combine my newly acquired expertise, a great pole and a scenic location?
Chapter III. I talk with my St. Louis Cardinal friend, Ed Godfrey, of The Oklahoman, over lunch at the National Cowboy Museum. We seek out the several summer Prix de West art pieces depicting fly fishermen in gorgeous locations. He invites me to share a future trip with him on his blog.
Chapter IV. I get a call in mid August from the office of the American Association of Museums, requesting me to be part of a team to review the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, New York for Museum Accreditation. This had to be completed in October (before it snows) for review and presentation in the spring.
Chapter V. I choose another team member, Phil Kwiatkowski, State Director of Historic Properties from Lansing, Michigan, who just happens to be a fly fisherman.
Chapter VI. Finally, it is October. We meet up in New York, take care of the Erie business (no October pun intended) and head for the recommended “Troutfitter” in Syracuse, New York. Proper license, assortment of flies and a few important suggestions including directions are secured. Boy you should see the trophy pictures on his walls, all caught by rookies.
Chapter VII. The Big Day. We are up early to eat breakfast at Mother Cupboard’s of Man vs. Food cable TV fame. This place is for real, and we would have never found it if it weren’t for the companionship of the Historian and Director of the Stickley Furniture Museum. A huge appetite required here for 14 inch blueberry pancakes? How many do you want?
Chapter VIII. The Play. October 20, 2010. A day that will live in fishing infamy. We arrive in the awesome scenic valley of the Chittenango, where the fall colors demand our attention as we assemble the gear and get started. The sky is over cast, the bead heads do not work, the water is fast and we have no waders. Finally the sun breaks through, the water glistens, we select hot pink colors and work the slower water nearer the banks.
Chapter IX. The Catch. The dream comes true, trout know a good thing when they see it. Nothing record setting, just 12-14 inch browns admired long enough for a cell photo and then released back into the wild stream for another angler, next year.
Chapter X. You should try this someday, it’s all in the book.