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Trout Fishing in the Battenkill River

I watched the canoe’s bow waves roll toward the banks. The canoe became a shadow before the mist enveloped it. I waded to shore.

Three-fifteen. I had parked at the covered bridge at nine. In effect, I had been stalking that toad for over six hours.

I waded carelessly back to the car. There was no need to worry about my waves spooking fish. Every worthy trout in the river had been sent scurrying by that one man in his canoe.

I stopped at the diner on the state line for coffee. The guy behind the counter said, “Been fishin’, huh?”

I nodded.

“Do any good?”

I smiled and shook my head.

“Listen,” he said. “Out behind the field here they were jumpin’ all over the place last night. Nice ones, too. Eight, ten inches, some of ’em. You oughta try it there.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I appreciate it.”

He gave me a free refill, and when I stood to go, he said, “Just take that dirt road there and you can park beside the field.”

I did. The river ran dark and deep along a granite ledge overhung by hemlocks. It was beautiful and peaceful in the mist, and I spotted the rings of a few rising trout and caught two of them. They weren’t the “nice” ones the guy at the diner had seen, but they were five or six inches long, beautiful miniature Battenkill brown trout.

I fished until dark, casting rhythmically, no longer in search of a worthy trout, and finally the sediment of fishing sank to the bottom and my purpose became pure.

And so I made my peace with the Battenkill.

Updated Monday, August 13th, 2007

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