Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Encounter with a 16-Inch Trout from under Route 206 Bridge makes my Evening on North Branch Raritan River

 As I drove into AT&T World Headquarters this morning at 9:30, the Pequest Hatchery people had just scooped a heaping netfull of brookies to drop from the entrance bridge. Getting back there--this time below the bridge--at 5:15, I found the place jammed like I've never seen before, took my place between a right and a left shoulder of two others, and assessed that the trout weren't cooperative. Plenty there. And that's a 20-inch or so brown I snapped a shot of as this angler beheld it before release. With low water, the trout just stayed in place as I had feared they would. None had moved up to the second bridge, and the water is so low anyhow that bottom is visible through that run.

I managed to catch one after ten minutes or so. Shortly thereafter the guy next to me caught a six-inch shiner, slammed it to the ground, and kicked it back into the North Branch where it frenetically shook with spasms of pain, then died from shock to rest belly up on the bottom. I gave the guy a fiercely disgusted look and walked off.

Every life is sacred. Fishermen who don't know this suffer from toxic dementia of some form. No, that's not to give into the lunatic professors who believe fish possess moral lives. But it is to respect all life as living, until only necessity ends it.

Judging by all the war games being played on game boxes, I guess it's going to be hip for people to kill each other pretty soon. Is life worth any better? It's always up to individuals to judge. If they can. Get caught up in a lust for power and you may be mentally disabled.

I got a call from my wife. She had left her lights on as Matt practiced baseball. So instead of driving directly to Route 206 bridge, I went to Miller Lane at the police station and gave her Civic a jump start.

Later, a 16-inch or so trout swam out from under the Route 206 bridge to nose my salmon egg and refuse. When it turned, it's side seemed like a mirror reflecting the chilly green of river water. I realized very soon that once again this spot hadn't been stocked; it hasn't for three or four years. Another guy had caught a 12-inch brown trout, and when he cleaned it, discovered pink flesh and showed me. We agreed the fish was a holdover, not from the fall either. Fall trout are at least 14-inches. And although a few breeder browns get stocked with these early brookies, as far as I know 12-inch browns don't make the scene until May.

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