Ducks on a Trout Stream
Maybe you can relate to this. Occasionally I come around a bend and all heck breaks loose. It is usually two, but sometimes several ducks or geese hanging out. Since I fish wading upstream that is the direction they head to get away from me. They slap their wings on the water and take off like a slow prop plane on a runway – it takes a while to get airborne and in the meantime they boil the water and spook every trout within a hundred yards. If that were the end of it, oh well, but they usually land a few bends upriver and forget about me until I come around that bend and repeat the process. It may be the only thing worse than unknowingly following another fisherman up the stretch. I ask you what’s worse: Knowing why the fish are turned off or wondering why the fish are turned off. Either way about all you can do is get out of the stream and do a big circle to get ahead of the problem.
This reminds me of another problem but one that usually goes away quickly – beaver on trout streams. I was caught by surprise on the Baldwin one time by a loud slap noise and a fat furry head bee lining toward me and creating a wake. I panicked and started backing up but it stopped ten feet from me and went back upstream. The slap of the tail is meant as a warning and I can tell you – instinctively it comes across as one. It’s loud. Another time Feral and I were fishing the Pigeon up by Vanderbilt and came around a bend and saw one on the bank that looked like a black bear cub – it was that big and chunky. Since the Pigeon is bear country, we did a quick freeze to figure out just what we were looking at. Beavers are actually fairly common on trout streams and if you see them they usually just cruise past you like small furry submarines. No danger really, but there is a quick moment of knowing you are sharing space with a wild animal.
The only real danger on a trout stream is getting run over by a canoe. It’s all unlicensed drivers with no training required. Someone needs to invent a canoe with a steering wheel and foot brake. Canoeists may hurt the trout fishing with their noise but on the other hand they provide some entertainment too, so maybe it evens out. One time Feral and I came upon a small group of young people on the Pine River that had pulled over to make some shore lunch. They were on the outside of a wide deep bend, we were on the inside. They were animated and friendly. One geeky kid wanted to re-setup his backpack camp grill to show us how cool it was. So far it had been a hot unproductive day of fishing and we were happy for the diversion. They had some cold beer and offered and we said sure. They threw a can across the river to Feral and he almost went in catching it. They asked if I was ready and I said yes so they lobbed another one over. I lifted my fishing net and caught it. They thought that was hilarious. We thanked them and headed on our way, two ducks waddling up the river.