Wednesday, August 15, 2007

tailwater's alright with me

I fished my first tailwater today. Well, that's not entirely true. I've fish rivers that have dams on them. But they were all places where trout would live regardless of the impoundment. In fact, they were all places that once had their own native populations of trout.

South central Indiana is not one of these places. Nonetheless, two hours east of my house I can enjoy some very fine angling for brown trout in the Brookville Tailwater.

Brookville is a rather quaint, small town stuck in the 1960s, stuck in the surprisingly topographically diverse valley of the East Fork of the Whitewater River. Brookville is only thirty miles or so west of Cincinnati. About 100 miles east of Bloomington. The Brookville Reservoir spills it frigid hypolimion under the dam and keeps the river around fifty degrees all year long (as long as discharges from the dam are regular). Thus where before there was a river well outside the native range of any Salmonid that regularly hit eighty degrees or higher in the summer (far too hot for a trout anyway), there is now a cushy, clean, cold stretch of river just right for cold water fishes.

Once again the ingenuity of man triumphs over nature's ramshackle hut. Pave paradise, put up a parking lot. Even us long-haired, bearded, granola (?) crunching hippy beatniks can appreciate a big concrete dam if it gives us trout. Although the real hippies (chub and sucker lovers) clash with anglers over the removal of dams (and great tailwater trout fisheries) to save native fishes that are not game fish. I'm not sure how I feel about this. If they get the San Juan in New Mexico, I get the Raystown Branch of the Juniata back. Drain Raystown you motherfuckers, and every last jet skier and pleasure boater with it. Down the tubes. Back the brookie! Back the gigantic mother fucking brook trout that fed on month long sulpher hatches in the shade of Tussey moutain for millenia before the arrival of the white man. Fuck Whitey! Err, not me. The other whiteys. The ones that damned the Raystown Branch of the Juniata.

Fun fact! Did you know that the WORLD RECORD brown trout came from a tailwater fishery in, you guessed it, ARKANSAS! Nowhere near that fish's native range. Fun, no?

Anyway, so the Central Indiana Trout Unlimited (not actually an oxymoron) has been stocking the Brookville Tailwater for some years now, along with the Indiana DNR. The DNR plants rainbows (which can be harvested) and the CITU plants brown trout, only one of which over 18" can be harvested. There is a nice population of holdover trout in that river. I don't think there is any natural reproduction, but I imagine it's a possibility. Just as long as the people who manage the dam can schedule discharges to keep the water cool all year long.

I went to fish the tailwater today for the first time because I have the fishing bug real bad like. I can't think of anything except fishing. It's pretty weird. I hope I'll be ok. But at least not until after I fish for some Indiana Steelhead soon. In Indiana. In a national park landmark. In Indifuckingana. Did I mention that I would fish for steelhead in a national park landmark in Indiana?

Anyway, Ben, one of my new housemates (story at 6!) and I went fishing there today and it was good. I caught a bunch of fish and so did Ben. Here are some pictures. Click them all (except three of them) for bigger.

It was Ben's first time fly fishing. He didn't know you're not supposed to dress like Van Gogh.

It was Ben's first time fly fishing. He didn't know you're not supposed to hold the fish like that.

It was Ben's first time fly fishing. He didn't like the knots.

It was Ben's first time fly fishing. He didn't know a giant brown trout was going to eat his head.

It was Ben's first time fly fishing. He didn't know you aren't supposed to catch three fish your first day.


catherine said...

i want to turn that last part of your blog into a picture book called Ben's First Time Fly Fishing. i miss laughing with you!

Juniata drop out said...

That's some good fishing you're doing...even spreading the wealth to those van crunchy types Thats right, drain Raystown those muther effers killed kenny...They say there's land locked salmon in there big as your uncle's VW....