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Kiss & Tell Fishing and Why I Don't;

Posted 04-02-2012 at 12:31 AM by Hardyreels
Updated 03-30-2015 at 03:24 PM by Hardyreels

You folks who read the threads and have done so for years might think that every now and then I write something worth while. Sometimes I think I write things that are worth while too

A fellow put up a post where he told of catching some really nice trout in a small river where he generally finds only small trout. He named the river and I posted to his thread telling him that although it sounded like a great day he should be wary of divuldging his sources for good fishing. We posted back and forth and then I told him something from my fishing past. The place is one that I still don't really name and I use generalizations when I speak of it but the short story will reveal what happened over 40 years ago.

I once had a creek that had been overlooked by society at large. Even the old men from out in the Valley said all it had were 'little bitty brookies'. The facts were different, I began spending as much time as I could up there in those mountain streams by 1968. I was just a young boy then but I knew a good thing when I saw it and the 'Water Company' was as close to Montana or Alaska as I was going to get for the next 20 years...........

Back in the late 1800's there had been a farm up in the pass owned by a Remington, yes one of those Remington's. Well old Mr. Remington had a small dam to supply water to his livestock and he also got himself some Vom Burr brown trout fry via the railroad and apparently they survived. He had raised trout in in to slough his little dam created and of course some got away during high waters. I had to assume that he must have introduced them purposely to the streams also. I have no idea the other facts about this man or how the land eventually changed hands but it did. During the Great Depression and the days of the CCC Corps there became 'The Municipal Water Authority' and the authority took over a lot of land either by buying it or by imminent domain, I'm not sure of all the details because the history was told to me by a man who was in his 80's and that exchange took place in the 1970's.

My Family owned a significant bit of land which bordered the Water Company as it was known to me and there were Grand Parents as well as 3 sets of Uncles & Aunts living right there in a cluster at the end of the Valley Road. My family home was some 7 miles away but I was drawn to this place because much of this land had once belonged to my Father who sold it after he had returned from WWII. He chose to start his family and have his home away from the flock but he always regretted having parted with his land which was purchased by his parents. By the time I turned 13 years old my Father had succumbed to Hodgkin's Dieses and passed away but he had introduced me to that area where the mountains met the Valley floor and it only got to be a stronger draw after he had died.

I fished the Remington Creek and the 'Main Creek' that it flowed into for the years between 1967 & 1977 almost exclusively and never said much about it to anyone. The 72' season was pretty much lost due to Hurricane Agness which dumped over 14" of rain onto the North East and caused flooding that records were broken and remained that way until just a few years back. The fall fishing demonstrated however that those fish had somehow hung on. How they did that I'd never know, somehow sticking tenaciously to the bottom or tucked into an undercut but there they were just like always. Truth is that I didn't fish the Pass much in 1972. 73' brought a fresh start to my fishing and there were no natural disasters to interrupt my trekking all over the Valley and I discovered many new rivulets and pools as I hiked farther into this virtually unused area. It was that year in June that I caught some giant brown trout as well as a male Brook Trout that defied anything I thought possible at that time. Prior to this day I had never caught a Wild Brown Trout anywhere and never a brown up in those mountain streams. Honestly I didn't really know what they were. I was just a kid who rode a used bicycle to his Grand mother's house and parked on the car port before daylight and walked away until dark, I had very little experience with anything but those streams in the Valley. Yes, I killed 3 fish that day. I had to. Who would ever believe me if I didn't, no camera, no way to show anyone that fish unless I took it with so dead the became. When I went to pick up my bicycle I knew I should ask my Granny for some sort of large plastic bag because these fish were way beyond the size my little shoulder bag creel would hold. I always would stop to say hello and let her know I had came out safe again but this time I had to show her those fish. It was the first time I had ever shown her any fish. Granny Stetts was proud of me for having caught such large fish and she meant no harm when she spilled the beans to Uncles Bob, Dick, and Cleatus. Of course those uncles told their friends and children who would tell every friend they had about the rumor of giant fish coming out of the Pass. So it was to be that the chain reaction which would be yesteryears equivalent of Facebook, Instagram, and an online fishing forum had begun and I didn't even know it.

Me, I still have they trophy I was awarded for catching the biggest brown trout of 1973 and I kept fishing my 'secret spot'. I had the presence of mind when the fish was weighed and measured for certification to tell them it had come from a creek some 20 miles away. I did that partly because I knew that people would go looking for more like that and because I had been fishing on Water Authority lands. I never considered that I had lied. I did what I still do to this day, I embellished the facts regarding the location a little. I had no way of knowing that Granny had shared the tale of my good fortune with my uncles who in turn had spread the word like a wildfire.

Each year I began to see signs that others had been out there. The foot print, the cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack, the occasional butt. One day while just sitting back in the woods away from the stream I spotted 2 people coming up the creek. One with bait one with a fly rod headed right into the pool I had just fished. I had caught only one small brookie and was curious why I had no better result in a spot I would generally catch a dozen fish of all sizes. But here came the answer to my minds curiosity and guess what? it was Cleatus and some man I didn't know. Sadly by 1977 things were changing in my little private world and that change would be final. The area was full of the signs of fishermen. Empty bait containers, Eagle Claw Hook packs & discarded bottles of Mike's Oil Pac Salmon Eggs, and of course Power Bait bottles littered the ground as you walked the stream. By the 80's there was a trail that was evident along the Main Creek. It seemed that camping there was in vogue and there had to be 20 fire rings along the stream and each was left full of tin cans and other garbage.

Round about 1985 or so a fellow who was hired by the company I worked for one day told me about this place his buddy had told him about...... Weird thing was Louie lived about 40 miles from the valley. You could meet people from the city and it's suburbs 30 miles away and find them talking out loud about the place when you went to a sporting goods store, it was over. Remember mind you, this was 20 years before you ever heard of the Internet.

The mountains are still there, the streams still flow. I'm over 5000 miles away and in the years since those days on Remington's Creek I've fished from remote Newfoundland to my home here in Alaska. I've fished the Rocky Mountain rivers and creeks a lot for a guy who didn't live there and one thing stands out in my mind when I look back over the past 42 years since I caught those big fish. I have never fished in a better place for either the numbers or the size of wild Brook Trout in all my life and considering where I fish every season now, that's saying something. The events of my days on the creeks of The Valley remain bright and clear as though they were just last season but the fish and the wildness are gone forever.

That my friend is why I don't tell where I fish ever again. It's true that I'll mention the Kenai River sometimes but if you ever saw the number of boats and people fishing it you would know that the fate of that fishery doesn't rest on whether the name slipping from my lips happens or not.

This is all that remains of my stream in The Pass

Click the image to open in full size.

Silence is golden,

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Total Comments 7


  1. Old Comment
    milt spawn's Avatar
    So blindfold me and let's go! Your stuff is always worthwhile Ard. milt.
    Posted 04-02-2012 at 01:13 AM by milt spawn milt spawn is offline
  2. Old Comment
    mcnerney's Avatar
    Ard: Another great story and well worth paying attention to.

    Posted 04-02-2012 at 08:36 AM by mcnerney mcnerney is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Davo's Avatar

    Though most of the locals I fish are well known and well traveled there are those out of the way places that have been great and offered solitude. I do not share those either, except with my closest fishing partners who don't live near by so they can't direct others there!!
    Posted 04-02-2012 at 10:10 AM by Davo Davo is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Hardyreels's Avatar
    My favorite stream from the mid 1980's through the time when I moved away from Pennsylvania ran right beside a busy secondary route that was a connector between two highways for almost half a mile before it dissapeared into the mountains. It was also used by many people as a commuter route as they traveled to and from their work and recreation.

    From the time that I discovered the undeniable quality of the fishing I used to hide my truck up a forest service road so that no one would ever take a second look at the little brook with very limited access parking. Dressed in camo clothing I ghosted alone the stream for over 20 years and ran into only one other person. Unbelievable right? The guy was dressed like me and we had went to high school together. He told me he came there once in a while because he had lived in the area for a while. He ask about my being there and I told him it was my first time and I hadn't caught anything but little brook trout

    Sometimes it was hard to keep a tight lip but I've gotta admit, I never saw Chris there again
    Posted 04-03-2012 at 03:35 PM by Hardyreels Hardyreels is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Always a pleasure when I visit one of your blogs Ard.

    Take care,
    Posted 04-04-2012 at 09:48 AM by dharkin dharkin is offline
  6. Old Comment
    jpbfly's Avatar


    Great story Ard...the little stream running through the ferns is a beauty
    Posted 04-09-2012 at 12:41 PM by jpbfly jpbfly is online now
  7. Old Comment
    flyfisherz's Avatar
    Great blogs and stories. Small mountain stream fishing may be my favorite. Many people don't even consider fishing small streams when they pass by, I've caught 8-inch natives in streams you can step over.
    Posted 05-14-2013 at 06:08 PM by flyfisherz flyfisherz is offline

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