This spring has not shaped up to be a good one so far for those of us who fish trout streams. My backyard rain gauge has logged 7 inches of rain over the last three or so weeks, and many local streams are roaring because of it.
It's the time of year where those who wade when fishing need to be particularly careful, because the results can be worse than just a chilly dunking.
A man who was fishing Mill Creek in Johnsburg on Saturday learned that lesson. The Warren County Marine Rescue Team was called when the man fishing the rain-swollen creek was reported to have washed downstream, to the point that someone feared he needed rescuing.
I haven't been able to get the whole story so far, and it was unclear whether he was wading (not a smart thing to be doing in that mountainside stream in high water) or slipped and fell in. The county fire coordinator reported he was not hurt, and the Johnsburg Fire Department did not respond to inquiries about the matter.
Thankfully, he was eventually found safe downstream.
We often underestimate the power of water. I've dunked myself a few times when wading, and come close to some major catastrophes when trying to cross in areas where I shouldn't
Wading staffs can be helpful, giving you some help for balance. But there is no substitute for caution and common sense. Find the easiest route to cross, instead of the closest. Stay out of the water when it is cold and high. If you have some doubt, don't push it.
Many people drown in rivers when underestimating depth and current. Those of us who fish frequently are usually experienced enough to stay out of trouble, but it only takes one lapse of judgement to result in a big problem.
-- Don Lehman