Fishing the Mitchell River

I fished a bit of the North Carolina-Virginia border last week.  The Mitchell River near Dobson, North Carolina, is a short drive from Winston-Salem.  A visit to my granddaughter Lilly, who is a freshman in college, provided me cover to take a day off to wet my toes and fingers in a cold, 40-degree trout stream.  My trip started with a short plane ride to Charlotte and then a drive to Winston-Salem where I spent an afternoon at Wake Forest with Lilly.  Lilly, our first grandchild, is a modern-day woman brimming with confidence and exuberance.  Our time together reassured me that my concern for her happiness, which incented me to visit, was misplaced.  Lilly has acclimated well to college life and is a mature young adult.  I was comfortable taking a day away to fish the morning not so lonely with my guide Dave Bergman, a transplanted New Jerseyan who, like all fishing guides, dreams of having his own fly shop someday.  We set out early morning with temps in the 40s.  I was geared up with my Icelandic kit – long johns, flannel pants, thick waders and layers of outer wear.  I was ready.  We fished a 4-weight rod nymphing our way along the riffles.  We scouted in vain for Browns and Brook but the Rainbow trout- 9” to 13” were plentiful that morning. The sky was bright.  The farmland surrounding the river was cut bare.  All the fishing paths to the water were devoid of fellow fishers.  The air was clear and smelled of recently plowed-over fields of soy.  I could have been in Maine, Pennsylvania or out west.  I felt complete.  My vocabulary was enriched by some new terms Dave taught me:  “chowder” (rough water); “boogie water” (shallow, rocky water moving at a swift pace). There is something unexplainable for me about fishing the mornings.  My mind is clear out on the water—a reminder of the times past before cell phones.  In fact, there was no cell service where we were.  Another reason to go back.  My only thoughts are to my back cast—to not entangle my line– and to keep my frozen feet moving.  Otherwise, I am happy and secure.

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