Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Strong Lamington River Flow and the Broken Dam about to Go

First encounters will deeply impress memory, if genuine. Early in the year 2000, one of my brothers, Rick, phoned to tell me he fished trout in the Lamington River. At the time, he worked as a banker somewhere within reasonable distance of getting here at the edge of Bedminster, my home town since July 1999. I had fished Hunterdon streams on a warm Opening Day, as I remember, and came home a back way to stop and check this river out. I caught nothing, but Rick's call a week or so later got me back to try again, and for about two weeks, I caught many rainbows drifting salmon eggs along the seam of current that presses around the broken wing dam--broken then, too--to then cut along a deep hole.

Summer that year, I bought the 5 1/2-foot St. Croix I especially use for bass, first casts here in the Lamington above this wing dam, my catching a smallmouth. Since then, my son and I have parked at Cowperthwaite Road's iron bridge to hike and wade on down to fish the North Branch Raritan for bass, confluence with that river a fairly short distance away, but a little trying to ford.

This awkward wing dam. It's always felt a little interesting to see. It won't be here forever. There's talk about its removal for many months now. This is what got me interested in the past week to come and photograph it, before I can't. My 35mm Pentax served interesting shots of my young son exploring it many years ago, but I needed a few for my digital files, arriving here at about 3:30, light getting pretty low, although not creating the sorts of quickly passing opportunities last light often makes very valuable. I'm looking out my window on twilight now, and the sky has cleared after I did notice some interesting light for a moment.

I had taken the opportunity of some breaks in cloud cover. It would be worth trying again around sunset, given time.

North Branch Raritan is stocked with relative few trout this month, water very low. The irony is that Lamington River not stocked is flowing strong, surely due to releases from Round Valley Reservoir into one of Rockaway Creek's branches. I wanted to also get out with my two-weight fly rod for whatever trout may be in the North Branch nearer to home, after the shoot here, planning also to shoot there around sunset, tripod with me this time, but the pressure is on and it's just too much for now with my son's university application process and my demanding job.

In relation to these rivers, I won't let myself down. The drive to achieve can trip over too many lines, those lines that novelist Franz Kafka wrote in his journal are meant to be crossed, but anyone with a salt speck of sanity knows it can be lost. A planted garden needs enough watering, but to pump a reservoir into it would leave no trace.