Just last week I fulfilled my New Year's Resolution for the first time in my life. In fact, I don't think I've ever really had a resolution until this year. My secret to success? Picking something that I actually wanted to do - catch at least one trout every month of the year (on a fly, of course). I reached my goal when I landed a little rainbow on, believe it or not, an elk hair caddis, in the cold December rain. It's been a great year of fly fishing - one in which I feel like I finally figured out how to fish. I've been keeping a pretty detailed journal, and I'm looking forward to compiling all the streams I've explored and fish I've caught (and released).
Today was a pretty mild day for December, so I decided to do some exploring on new water. I went to a stream I've been wanting to fish for quite awhile, but I heard it was all on posted land. I finally found a stretch of it that was open to the public, so I ventured down south. I was hoping for higher water than what we've had, but the water was still pretty low. I managed to bring a few wild browns to hand, all on nymphs. There were some midges hatching, but I couldn't get them to take anything on top.
I stumbled upon the name "Raftman's Path" walking the river trail that traverses through the little town I live in. It was named during the days when lumber was a huge commodity in this area. The Susquehanna River was an industrial thoroughfare - bearing down loads of lumber from the northern reaches of Pennsylvania towards the Chesapeake. Marietta was a stopping point, a place for the lumber either to go to the mills lining its banks or shoot further downstream through pig iron smoke. Raftmen would guide the lumber down to the mouth of the Susquehanna into the Chesapeake - an estuary of salt, water, lumber, ore, eel and shad. When their job was done, they would walk the raftman's path back through the Susquehanna Riverlands of Lancaster County towards their homes. The path is now wooded and meanders through some of the only "wild" places left in the county.