How I Almost Owned A Trout Stream

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Jon Tobey

Now that they are selling it, I can finally tell the story of Williamstown Gulf.

When my dad was in high school, he and his 3 best friends bought a trout stream. I know it sounds like something out of Trout Fishing in America, but they really did. Can you imagine, getting out of school and heading out to your own trout stream, as a teenager, to fish with your best friends? Somehow, that story makes me feel like I really got my priorities completely wrong at a very early age. I didn’t even own a fly rod until I was 40, but I heard about this stream my whole life and finally one day when I was home I asked if I could go fish it. They’ve been stocking if for years even though nobody has fished it for 20 and my dad had to call his one surviving friend to get directions to it. It’s a little creek that becomes a tributary of the White River.

When we finally got there it was in an incredibly dense and verdant valley, but unfortunately the stream had been beaverized, with dams about every 100′ on it and a lush swamp in the resulting river bottom. I had to walk through a very dense swamp to get to it and I was a little nervous because it was filled with moose tracks and from what I’ve heard you would rather run into a bear than a moose. When I finally got to the stream it was about 8′ across, and beneath the dams almost that deep. In the crystal cold water there I could see the fry, every pool holding hundreds and knowing what cannibals trout, especially brook trout, are I imagined each stretch must hold one lunker or so. I mean 20 years….The brush was so dense I couldn’t even make a bow-and-arrow cast. I was trying to dapple with just my leader sticking out, but even that wasn’t working as the weight of the line would pull the fly back into the guides. Eventually I tied a half hitch around the tip and poked around a bit, not knowing what I would actually do if I found a fish, but determined to try. I mean, how many of you have a trout stream in your linneage?

How uniquely beautiful is this fish?

Photo Louis Cahill

Photo Louis Cahill

A little galaxy of stars and dreams.
It was tough, actually impossible, so I worked downstream until I finally found the pond where I could see dozens of fish rising at the edge of casting range against the dam. I figured this would be easy and was throwing everything at them and getting ignored like an awkward teenager at homecoming (yes, I was that guy). Finally I tied on a green-winged Mylar concoction my friend Mikey tied for me, and BOOM! the catch was on. (At least that is how I remember it. That’s a Hornberg in the image above…) These were beautiful little fish. The images don’t do them justice (they never do) . Where most brookies are olive green, these were indigo blue. Unfortunately right when I began having fun, my dad began honking the horn for me to come back. Imagine, you wait your whole life to fish your heritage, are the first person to fish it in 20 years, take a couple of hours to figure it out, finally get it dialed, haven’t yet hooked the big one, and you have to leave.

I always planned on going back, maybe someday owning it, but last time I was home my dad told me he and his remaining friend are sick of paying the taxes on it and are ready to sell it. I understand that. The good news is, they are selling it to the state. So, while I’ve kept it my secret all of these years now you can go too. Just drop me a line, let me know how it is, and maybe, just maybe set me up with the proper fly.

Read more Bo John Tobey @ Go Into The Light

John Tobey
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “How I Almost Owned A Trout Stream

  1. That’s a lovely story, especially the way you ended it. Thank you Mr. Toby. Private ownership of natural resouces such as a trout stream are one of the great tragedies of the world, just ask the anglers of Utah and even Colorado laws are flawed. I am truly thankful some states get it right. And those are also lovely photos Louis, particularly the top one.

  2. Pingback: Published Pieces | gointothelight

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