My Curtis Creek
Everyone should have one. A secret place where they can go and get away. Near or far. Easy to get to, or hard as hell. Others may know about it, or maybe no one (although few such places exist anymore.)
My Curtis Creek? It's a place that I fish infrequently. It takes a bit of effort making it to the water. There's some hiking involved. Then there's the blowdown. Most years, I'm content just knowing that it exists. Every once in a while though, I get the urge to return.
The first visit, I wet waded. Even in late August, the water was frigid. I caught fish, but, what I remember most, was the hours that it took to regain the feeling in my lower legs.
I went back a few years later. This time I packed waders. It was a bit too early in the season. The water ran swift. I didn't want to chance wading. Good move.
More years passed. I went back, as in a couple of days ago. The water was lower. It still ran fast. Did I mention that there's lots of blowdown? Just getting to the stream was a #@%! pain in the butt, especially while wearing waders. Logjams make for dicey wading in some spots. But, get a fly in the water, and a scrappy trout will be the reward. Years of intermingling of the native cutthroats and introduced rainbows have produced all manner of hybrids. Some show more rainbow characteristics, others more cutthroat. All pretty just the same.
It may be a couple of years before I go back, or maybe never. I'll always remember the fish, and the blowdown timber, and how smart I thought I was to pack waders.
So, in praise of small out of the way streams, I'll end with this quote from Sheridan Anderson and his fine primer on fly fishing, The Curtis Creek Manifesto:
"Is there really a Curtis Creek? ........ Possibly, my darlings, quite possibly: but I will say no more because that is your final lesson: to go forth and seek your own Curtis Creek - a delightful, unspoiled stretch of water that you will cherish above all others... there are few Curtis Creeks in this life, so when you find it, keep its secret well........"