I heard about this spot where there’s supposed to be trout.
Not just any trout. Brook trout. Wild. Native.
And this spot is quite close. And it is surprisingly urban. And it seems too good to be true.
This knowledge, like any lead on buried treasure or city of gold, was stumbled into. A chance encounter. I was supposed to talk to person A. We had planned it and it was all set. Then person B was there instead. He was Person A’s substitute. Person B lives thousands of miles away, but just so happened to grow up right where I live. He fly fishes, he has an interest in native brook trout, and he knows about this spot.
Furthermore, he did the very un-fly fisherman thing in sharing this spot. With me.
Immediately upon leaving his presence I began to investigate on my phone. I pulled up a map and before it loaded I switched over to Google to see if anyone was posting about it and then I went back and looked at the access in street view. I got excited. It looks like a stream. It is only mentioned alongside of trout once. It is an article about biodiversity.
Articles like that are much more reassuring than fishing reports or message board threads. Science is reassuring. Tips and tricks aren’t. The former means fish. The latter means fishermen.
I figured out how to get there. Where to park. Where to enter from downstream. It looks like there are a few hundred yards of creek before it flows into a larger stream. Trees might conceal it from all the sprawl. They might conceal me from other anglers, passing by with prying eyes.
Surely the fish aren’t big. But big doesn’t matter. Brook trout in the shadow of billboards and overpasses and Starbucks don’t need to be big to be novel. I’m not a gemologist, but I am confident that provenance isn’t a determining factor in value of something uniquely precious. Authenticity and beauty. That is what you’re looking for.
A spot like this is the kind of spot I’m looking for. Brook trout in a place where they aren’t supposed to be. Which, ironically, is in a place where they absolutely should be. They were here before the billboards and overpasses and Starbucks. In little creeks like this and in the bigger rivers. Their wildness is bigger than their five or six inches can contain.
Spots like this are as much about the fish being there as they are about catching the fish. That doesn’t mean I’m just going to bring my binoculars. It does mean that the bar for personal contentment is set relatively low. Seeing a fish chase a fly. Catching a tiny, bright gem of a brook trout.
I heard about this spot where there’s supposed to be trout. I’d like to think that there are lots of spots like this all over the world. Many which are shrouded in secrecy. Some, perhaps, that are still unknown. Small and untouched. Hidden in plain sight. Finding them always takes exploration. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, finding them begins with some unanticipated knowledge.