Tuesday, June 05, 2007

mysterious, remote, brook trout stream

I'm leaving in about two hours for the wild west. Well, first to Missouri. The Gateway to the West. But then tomorrow to Colorado I go. So it's time to get the east coast out of my system for now and post some pictures from an exciting and tiring 12 mile hike I took about 10 days ago in Pennsylvania. I circumnavigated a four or five mile section of a small stream that is in an isolated watershed on the Allegheny Plateau. I won't say where because there are no pictures of this stream online (at least that I can find) and I want to keep it that way. Suffice it to say that it is SOUTH of route 80. That's a huge hint because not much of the Allegheny plateau is south of rt.80. Particularly not a section as remote as this.

So this stream is supposed to hold a ridiculous population of native brookies and some big ones too. I caught a few little guys, 5-6 inches was the average, and missed many more. But I did see a big guy, probably 10-12 inches that I spooked. A very nice trout for this extremely skinny water. Reminded me of Panthertown actually.

This is a pretty transitional area, from the Ridge and Valley province and it's Appalachian Oak forests to the Allegheny plateau and its northern hardwoods association. It was all logged maybe 100 or 150 years ago so the forest isn't terribly old. It's a strange, open, park-like forest with a thick shrub layer of blueberry on the uplands and scattered in the valleys, but rhododendron is more common in the valleys. This is about 2000' in elevation. I walked along this for a mile or so then descended a medium grade slope a couple hundred vertical feet into the stream valley that was less than a mile wide and about 4 miles long. Click for bigger.

Busy beaver. Lots of beaver dams in the valley.

The valley was a mix of open, dammed, marshy, sand and silt substrate areas with blueberries, and wooded, high gradient, rocky sections.

A wooded, rocky section. I caught a number of trout out of this tiny pool at the top of the picture.

A big, open spot where I saw the big trout. Click for bigger.

Average size fish. They were much lighter in the open spots than in the wooded areas. Click for bigger.

Good spring flowers. Lot of Trillium and I saw that orchid on Penn's Creek. Click both for bigger.

The headwaters. A lot of little springs. Click for bigger.

Did some fishing one night in Black Moshannon Lake (another hint). Caught a pickerel and these other fishes. Click none for bigger.

The western onslaught will begin soon. Brace yourself.


Catherine said...

i miss you, so i'm glad i have your blog to keep me abreast of your summer adventures. beautiful pics, as usual. where in colorado are you going to be? i can't remember.

Anonymous said...

Catch them fish! Catch em Big Daddy.
When you going to Arizona?

Maureen said...

Hey Matt,
How's it going?! If you make it to Portland this summer get in touch with me.


Tracy said...

Yay! more pictures for my Mattdunn gallery! I love it! :)

Matthew D Dunn said...

Catherine: I miss you too and I'm glad you're checking in here and leaving comments. I'm in Colorado right now. Denver. At a friend's. Chris (co-driver) hit a shredded tire and busted up some wires on my car and got a speeding ticket today in Kansas. Good stuff. We fixed the wires with electrical tape and rope. Seems to be working. Heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow for a week or so. I hope to catch a greenback cutthroat.

Anonymous: I'm not 100% sure Michael. Sometime between New Mexico and California. I'll call you.

Maureen: good to hear from you. I might be in Portland in a couple weeks.

Tracy: were there any good ones here? I didn't really think so. Maybe the woods?

Tracy said...

Me and the woods are friends. I like the top one.