Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kicking the Cat(t)

Jack has heard me speak of many tales of fishing the Cattaraugus Creek in Western New York. It had been since this past summer when we last hooked up for a day of fishing. I asked Jack if he would have a day off and sure enough, it was the same day I had. It must be close to two seasons since I last fished the "Catt". The challenge has been trying to time trips around its sensitivity to precipitation. Looking at the flow and visibility charts the other night along with a report from a good friend and fellow angler helped confirm the decision over a few other options. Jack would get to drift some new water and I was to get to fish one of my favorite rivers again. The events of the day would make this trip,  one for the books.
The plan was to get Jack his NYDEC fishing licence and hook up with another friend around 8:30am.
-     Wal-mart’s licencing system has been down for two months. (I find that hard to believe that a major US retailer would be comfortable not being able to issue hunting and fishing licences to compliment their fairly large sporting goods department.)
-     A second Wal-mart had me paying at a different department because its sporting goods counter had run out of register tape and its supply of additional rolls. ( I thought Wal-mart had excellent service. It was a supercenter for goodness sake)
-     Without warning, speed limits are reduced from 55 to 35 in a matter of meters, or feet in this case. The State Trooper was most understanding and only warned me to pay closer attention to the road signs. ( I was trying to navigate the GPS and look for the next turn off while listening to Jack’s hunting story)
-     Taking wrong turns to get to the access point and then the incorrect trail, we finally touch water. It was 10am.
Meeting time was blown so we re-routed to a long shot. The Zoar Valley is incredible. The scenery and solitude alone, is worth the several hundred feet decent (approximately 400 though it feels like double on the way up).
Jack took a few keepsake pictures.
There was only one other truck and we never crossed paths with anyone else.
With each turn and run, we were hoping for decent action in such zenquil surroundings. It was so quiet even the sound of running water seemed lost in the open gorge. Jack would be only a few yards from me but any conversations seemed long distanced.
There was not much going on and we had covered quite a bit of ground. Had the aformentioned events not happened, we may have considered exploring a little more. Time had started to become a factor and we still wanted to meet up as planned earlier.
We climbed out, made our way to another section of the river and found our friend whom was winding down his efforts with decent results. Although we only briefly shared drifts, it was great to see him again.
It was not to be a day of internet fish numbers for us though we did not go home white-striped.
Jack got his first US trib fish. It was not the size of the fish but the joy and feeling of success written on his smile that summed it all up.
Today began as a quest for new water and refreshing the soul. It ended up strengthening a friendship. Jack is now part of those many tales I will go on to tell.


  1. A truly fantastic recap of a very memorable day Gil. I am so fortunate to have a fishing buddy like you that is willing to take a newbie like me along to have some laughs and share the experience. Oh, and to maybe even get a couple of fish. I can't wait until our next adventure, as this was really an all day long adventure.


  2. Cheers Jack. I hardly think you are a newbie. I think I was more newbie looking after being scolded by US Customs for rolling that second stop sign on our way up to the booth. Hopefully the next trip will have more competent experiences to laugh at. ;)

  3. Good stuff Gil ( and Jack ) - I have been wanting to get back to the Catt for a long time as it was about 10 years ago I was there last!!!

    Truth be told I have not been able to drum up the desire to get out at all this spring - perhaps if temps stay cooler for my 8 days off dad and I might head up to the 'Geen, however if things get warm again we will likely be golfing instead!


  4. Thanks Steve. With 8 days, you could play a lot of "fins and skins"!!

  5. It certainly is a beautiful place Gil. All of the images I see of the Zoar Valley are stunning. I have yet to fish the Catt and Zoar Valley for that matter. Previous attempts were always thwarted by her drastic response to precipitation. Some day when the stars align...
    Good on ya for getting back in there.

    1. Brian, you need to go, at least once, to experience it first hand.

  6. I fished it last fall and the Zoar is amazing. It was a tough day for the both of us as we only caught one fish a piece. But it was worth the trip

    1. Hi Greg. I recall reading of your trip last fall. You have some good fishing your way. I have yet to make it to Ohio. Soon.

  7. Excellent Gil... I have yet to fish the Catt. It's on my list, perhaps one day. Love the first pic. Stunning.

    1. Cheers Tony! Jack took that first pic. ( Thanks Jack ;) ) You would love it there. A ton of room for you to swing that big spey.

  8. Way to go guys! Looks like nice coloured water.