So. I’ve discovered this little trout stream that I suspect could be a real find. I’ve found excitingly few references to it in the literature. It’s got all the prerequisites of the “Secret Honey Hole.” It’s either a good nine mile hike through the backcountry or a perfectly short jaunt across private property on its lower end. The stream lies at a low enough elevation that it’s liable to be marginal trout habitat and full of suckers, or it could get enough spring-fed flows to make it ideal. It lies in an area often overlooked due to its lack of pretty much anything noteworthy. The only photo I’ve found of the thing is an old one featuring a guy holding a four pound rainbow.
Don’t ask me because I won’t tell you its name. I won’t even name what state it’s in. Could be Virginia, North or South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia or even Alabama. Somewhere in Southern Appalachia. Let’s just call it Little Two-Hearted Creek for the sake of easy reference. Another thing, when I say that I’ve discovered it, what I mean is that I’ve located it on a map and performed the required research on it’s fishing. There wasn’t much to be found. Basically it’s a small stream in not-that-great-in-the-first-place trout country that most people don’t bother to fish. There are a few intriguing points on it’s downstream end, but truthfully I can’t find much information at all. It goes without saying that I’ve already got a trip planned, as would any fisherman worth his salt, coinciding with prime spring conditions, or as closely as I can guess when that’ll be. Spring is always unpredictable.
It’s things like this that keep me coming back for more. There’s a distinct edge of adventure to it all. The same sort of thing that makes locked spare rooms, old barns, abandoned homesteads and dark wood lots irresistible to kids. In the adult world, adventure is something there’s far too little of these days. I mean, we sanitize and safety-fy everything. The wise and practical part of my brain understands there’s a point to all that, but my wilder side mourns. We create artificial adrenaline to replace lost adventure. Things like bungee jumping, sky diving, roller coasters and the like. Even sports watching has replaced real adventure for many. You can toss certain types of drug addiction in this category as well. I’ve even engaged in some of this stuff myself (not the drugs). Nothing major. I’m more the roller coaster/sports type of guy as opposed to the bungee jumping/sky diving crowd. But it all just feels a tad too “artificial” to me. I know there are some who truly enjoy all this stuff for its own sake, but many do it just for the rush. It’s the motive here that’s important, not the actual activity. I guess there’s something of the primitive man lingering in my psyche that tells me what should really get my blood pumping is running from a saber tooth tiger or trying to kill a woolly mammoth with a 6 ft spear. Trekking nine miles through beautiful, new, potentially dangerous country to catch a few trout, whether or not I plan to eat them, strikes closer to the mark for me. That’s honest adventure in a mad, modern world. Adrenaline as a footnote to other worthy pursuits, not an end in itself. That all may be fuzzy logic, but it makes sense to me.
Realistically speaking, Little Two-Hearted Creek probably harbors 6-10″ rainbows by the bunches in a setting far from asphalt. Maybe a few browns are mixed in. Which would all be fine. But there’s a chance the drought last year wiped out any fishing that might have existed there. There’s a good chance there never was much fishing. The only way to know is to hike up there and find out. I get all tingly thinking about it. There is that chance, a tiny one, that there are a few, un-harassed 15″ browns up there.
What Little Two-Hearted Creek really offers is hope. Hope that there are still undiscovered gems buried among the grime of this often ugly and despair-filled world. Hope that, although there is very little true wilderness left, a man can still find solitude and space to test himself and clear water on which to float a fly. That’s way too dramatic sounding. What I mean to say is, it’ll be a lot of fun. There are thousands of these little streams around the country. Go find yourself one. The planning and dreaming will be half the fun.
Winter’s been cold lately. There’s another chance of snow this week, but my mind will be on a warm spring day and a heavy pack on my back and a sweet, fresh stream at the end of the trail.