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I had a little bit of everything this weekend. Some great, some good, some not so good, and some downright bad. Water levels remained tricky and my data remained inconsistent as I’m sure will be the case most of the summer now. There’s more than one way to skin a cat though…..and I love eating cats haha!!!
The ‘weekend’ started off on Thursday with a trip to a familiar stream. It’s produced well for me over the years but despite excellent water levels things just weren’t working out. Frustrated over the 6 trout I’d caught in the hour I was there I tucked my tail between my legs and started off for Plan B. I had a hunch all along that B should have been A but I didn’t roll the dice this time. I should have because the fishing on Stream B was breath taking at times. Water levels were excellent



And the browns were coming to hand quickly



I even caught 2 browns at one time!.......oh, but one was dead…This would become a reoccuring theme of the weekend.



The scenery on this creek is awesome considering its location. You almost have the feel of being in the mountains yet you are far from it.





I fished a long day till 4PM. That’s a long day for me anyhow. I finished with 181 trout. During the walk back on a quiet country road I came across this field of daylilies. It was a sight to see….



On Friday I was pretty worn out so Craig and I went on a leisurely trip to a stream fairly unfamiliar to either of us. I was impressed by the number of holdover rainbows even if the fishing wasn’t heart stopping.



The Craigster doing some damage.



And sometimes we did damage at the same time!



This trout narrowly escaped death from the mighty Blue Herron.



The highlight of the outing came when I hooked a small 5” trout from a big pool only to have a much larger trout zoom up and engulf the trout I was reeling in. Too bad I had the little one hooked so well as I would have liked to have caught and released both…..alive haha! It was exciting none the less to see. I’ve caught 2 trout on the same cast before but never after one ate another. That would have been interesting. Either way, I felt bad for the smaller trout! Imagine that 20 second experience from the moment it turned to hit my spinner……crazy.
After a good night’s sleep I had big plans for Saturday. I was excited to fish a stream I hadn’t fished since last year and thought water levels would be ok even though I had no real way of knowing for a change. As I drove I couldn’t see moon or stars so I was happy. When it started to drizzle I was happier. It was a long drive but when I arrived the water looked excellent. I ditched my bike way upstream, hoping for a long outing, and went to work. From my usual starting spot on my 2nd cast…



3 smaller wild browns followed including another hungry little bugger.



I knew I was off to the races on a big day but the only issue is that I was missing a TON of trout. Snap my rod over my knee type of stuff haha. At one point I must have missed 20 straight fish or worse yet, hooked and fought them to my boot only to lose them last second. At the end of the first hour I had caught and released just 8 trout. It should have been 30. I just stayed the course though and things got better (a little). I keep it in perspective though. The action was great even if I wasn’t landing fish as well as I would have liked. It’s hard not to be happy when streams are flowing so well.



And the browns and brookies are hitting so aggressively





I reached my bike early afternoon with 207 trout caught and released. Many many more received the gracious ‘long-line’ release along the way. Had I even remotely been landing at my usually 30-40% rate who knows how many I would have caught. A lot more, that’s all I know. I’d fished a long way so I was happy to see my bike….it’s something that I wont be seeing again most likely as it was stolen out of the bed of my truck last night in my driveway. Wonderful.
I took Sunday off but hit the trail this AM when I saw clouds were on order in the forecast late last night (it was sunny this AM haha. I tried a new stream that I’d never fished before but always wanted to



I was expecting big things and the water levels were nice but the fishing was just so so although I did catch yet another trout inside of a trout!



Obviously the trout have been feeding well….too well for their own good this past week.
After only 30 minutes and a few trout I decided I’d seen enough. Stream 252 was added to the list of trout streams fished and I’ll most likely never return. Nice place but it’s not making ‘the list’. I left there and headed to another new section of a familiar stream.



The trout were much more cooperative there and I had a lot of trouble pulling myself from the water in time for work. I never really knew this section of stream existed but it will see my shadow again next year. I enjoyed the time fishing but my highlight of the morning was happening upon this massive Hickory



The thing was over 3’ in diameter at the base! Hickory’s like that around these parts are something to notice. There was actually a handful of them in a big cluster, healthy and vibrant. True monarchs of the farmscape. I love trees!
I’ve got high hopes for this coming weekend. We’ll see what this rain down all week.
 

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Seems like some decent fishing over 4 days.

I've yet to catch a trout with another trout still in its throat (that I've noticed anyways). It's funny how fish put the feed bag on when food is available.
 

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I may average 1 per year with the tail sticking out. I always feel like i should remove it but I dont know the right thing to do 100%. I figure it's probably a meal that it's digesting slowly and will eventually put down all the way so I always just leave them in there.
 

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Great story and great sights. Using the bike works great for some locations. Amazing Hickory. Since you like trees do you ever see any American Chestnut remaining in the farmscape while fishing? Hard to find but a few are out there.
 

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I never have although I thought I had some in Sommerset in June. Ended up just being root shoots off a nearby Beech. They look similiar. I've spent hours upon hours reading about the old days when Chestnuts ruled the forest and really wish that I could have seen them in June when they were in full bloom. Must have been a sight to see..... Even with the recovery efforts going on right now, which appears ready to really take off, I will never see a mature Chestnut in my lifetime. That's a disappointing thing to me. I do however plan to plant a bunch of them and watch them grow to the point that I do die and hope that I'll be able to leave them behind to thrive and live on well after I am gone. At least that's my environmental dream......
 

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The beech do look similar and have fooled me too. I believe they are in the same family <span style="font-style: italic">fagaceae</span>(sp?)

I find a few in the 6-15" diameter range but not anything like their ancestors.

If you find some American stump sprouters that reach flowering age you can grow seedlings from their nuts. it works and is rewarding but they all eventually succumb tot he blight. I am also really looking forward to the GMO chestnuts.

That is a great dream.
 

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I'm surprised someone even noticed your bike in the back of your pickup since you just did such a wonderful camo paint job on it. Maybe you can pick up a used one at a yard sale.

Those daylillies are pretty. There aren't many species of orange flowers out there, but many of the ones that are orange are very prolific.

That is one big hickory tree. I see a decent number of big white pines, hemlocks, tulips and oaks, but I don't recall any big hickories.

Years ago when a clearcut was done on State Game Land 73 in Bedford County a lot of American Chestnut trees sprouted up, presumably from rootstock that hadn't rotted up yet. Some of them got big enough to produce nuts before they succumbed to the blight. I have photos of my dad holding some of them.

Congrats on a couple of pretty decent outings.
 

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I see the cannibal thing a lot with smallmouth, but none yet this year with trout.


In my research, I have found ways that people use to treat young chestnuts to resist blight. They coat the bottom 1-3ft of the tree with something and it protects it.

There are a few isolated mature trees around the northeast, and a few large stands of mature chestnuts in Michigan and Wisconsin which were transplanted there around 200 years ago.

I've tried to get my hands on some of the American Chestnuts that SUNY has tweaked and is awaiting the government's approval for, but you have to be some type of emeritus member of the American chestnut foundation to get them.
 

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NorthPotter said:
Great story and great sights. Using the bike works great for some locations. Amazing Hickory. Since you like trees do you ever see any American Chestnut remaining in the farmscape while fishing? Hard to find but a few are out there.
Chestnut trees are pretty common in the southern block of Sproul State Forest.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It was actually just caked mud around the bottom of the trunk as blight can't survive under any level of soil. No matter what though it gets the tree eventually though.
There is a huge mature tree in Georgia dead in the middle of blight country that survived and continous to survive. It's in the hedgerow of a farm. They've tried crossing it since its obviously resistant but the offspring die. This single gene Chinese cross is really the only hope of ever seeing real 99% American chestnuts long term again. Sad but true.
If you're a member of the American Chestnuts Foundation you have a great shot of getting nuts in the next 5-10/years I think. They're just not very common right now. Until the ones planted grow to maturity and start producing serious nuts then the normal guy will have trouble. They can be picky though with who gets there. There were something like 3-4,000,000,000 chestnut trees in the Appalachians 100 years ago. It will take an army of humans to bring the forest back into balance. They can't just stick with club members. Itll taken the work of 10s of thousands of people for generations.
 

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A mature 300 year old chestnut would make that hickory look like scrub brush ha-ha. 130 feet tall and 12' in diameter. God I'd love to go back in time and see that.
 

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troutbert said:
NorthPotter said:
Great story and great sights. Using the bike works great for some locations. Amazing Hickory. Since you like trees do you ever see any American Chestnut remaining in the farmscape while fishing? Hard to find but a few are out there.

Chestnut trees are pretty common in the southern block of Sproul State Forest.
Bert, this is great! Please share more...maybe in a new thread since I don't want to detract from OP's thread. I also find hundreds of wild stump sprouting americans in various areas in Bedford, Blair, Centre, Clearfiled, Elk & Potter county. But depending on the location, only 1 in 40 up to 1 in 80+ makes it old enough to flower. Some reach 50 feet or more and don't flower; some die at 10 feet. Of those that flower, not all but most (about 75%) produce fertilized nuts. A few that flower each year seem to get the tops and limbs torn off from bears every couple years thereby stunting their height growth.

As of last year I have found 16 (most on public land) that have matured enough to produce burrs and 12 of those produced fertilized nuts inside the burrs. I found another flowering one this year but also lost one late last season. Seems that the year after the first nut crop they tend to die to the blight but not always. I know there are thousands more but I don't spend time looking for them.

From one of these trees I was able to gather 39 burrs. But I found it late and was only able to secure 9 nuts from the burrs before the critters has already removed them. I can assure you these are wild American and not Chinese or hybrids.
 

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If I ever see one in the wild I'm taking my picture with it and getting it framed! I dont care if it's a pencil!
 

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I don't have much to add. By southern block of Sproul SF, I mean south of Renovo, south of the West Branch Susquehanna.

I've seen the most in the high elevations, up on top of the plateau, and on the upper hillslopes. I don't recall seeing them down near the creeks.

I have not seen any really large mature chestnut trees. But many of them are much taller than low sprouts. I'm not good at estimating tree height, but I'm guessing 30 feet high or so, and maybe 8 inches in diameter.

Some of them had chestnuts, but only a few.

The most chestnut trees I've ever seen was along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park. That area is loaded with stump sprout chestnut trees.
 

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In response to what has become a tree thread...
I found this in an article in the American Forests magazine. It puts tree blights into perspective.



Fred Paillet, a University of Arkansas geoscientist who often writes on chestnuts, has taken the long view. He cites pollen profiles from North American lakes that show virtually all hemlocks simply vanished from the forests some 5,000 years ago — probably of a disease still unknown — and then reappeared throughout their range a few centuries later.
“The American chestnut, considering it’s been around millions of years, can in the long term probably take care of itself as long as wild woodlands and rodents and jays exist to forage and spread the nuts.”


I found it interesting that hemlocks were wiped out before and came back.
 

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If that's actually true that it is certainly interesting. Evolution is unreal and they are certainly the type of tree species that are equipped to evolve and adapt to the blight. The shoots are really going to go away to the tree will persist in the wild forever pretty much. One would think that eventually it would evolve around the blight. I guess the issue is that a plant has to survive and reproduce in order to evolve.
 

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I've seen quite few American Chestnut trees in very southern Sproul, just north of Sayer's Lake. I wasn't really looking for them either. I've seen 10 or 12 on our 8 acres in Centre.
 

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troutbert said:
I don't have much to add. By southern block of Sproul SF, I mean south of Renovo, south of the West Branch Susquehanna.

I've seen the most in the high elevations, up on top of the plateau, and on the upper hillslopes. I don't recall seeing them down near the creeks.

I have not seen any really large mature chestnut trees. But many of them are much taller than low sprouts. I'm not good at estimating tree height, but I'm guessing 30 feet high or so, and maybe 8 inches in diameter.

Some of them had chestnuts, but only a few.

The most chestnut trees I've ever seen was along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park. That area is loaded with stump sprout chestnut trees.
Many thanks Bert. The locations for which you are locating your AC's are very similar locations/experiences I am having but mine are just in different counties.

I have not been to Shenandoah Park but seems like I need to visit sometime.
 
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