As soon as I realized that the first weekend in June was free from any prior obligations, I immediately called up my two buddies from college. My hope was that they’d have an interest in backpacking into a small freestone stream to fish for native brook trout. As I suspected, both were more than happy to make the drive to northwest PA from the Cleveland area.
We arrived at the gated forest road #241 early Saturday morning. The plan was to reach the confluence of Little Arnot Run and Arnot Run. We followed the forest road for several miles carrying our fishing rods and camping gear. Eventually the dirt road came to an end and we could see both valleys of the Little Arnot Run and the larger Arnot Run. We headed down the hill, crossing several lease roads, and found the confluence of the two creeks.
After a quick snack, we began fishing Arnot Run with spinners and flies. It wasn’t long until we noticed an abundance of creek chubs, but no brook trout. Our fishing efforts shifted away from Arnot Run and we honed our efforts on the Little Arnot. We hiked up Little Arnot for several hundred yards until we came to a nice log jam. I drifted a #14 caddis close to the log jam when a small reddish-orange missile came darting out from the woody sanctuary. The small brookie made a swipe at the caddis but failed to get hooked. The brook trout darted back to the confines of the log jam. We all smiled. We were in brookie habitat now.
We hiked upstream and decided to make camp along a wooded bend in the small rocky stream. After our gear was dumped, we continued to trek upstream while fishing rocky holes and log jams. The brookies were voraciously attacking both dry flies and my buddy’s small silver rooster-tail. All of the trout that we brought to hand were small, but they had gorgeous orange and red underbellies and fins. Their red spots sparkled in the clear water as we carefully held the caught trout in our palms, marveling at their natural color.
The heavy foliage overhead darkened the valley and made for an early night. Once back at camp, we made a supper of couscous, avocado, tuna, and canned sardines. After we ate, we then broke out the cards. For a couple of hours, we sat around the fire playing cards by fire-light. The valley cooled as the stream ran on and on over the rocky stream bed. Eventually our camp fell silent as we all listened to the crackling of the fire and the gurgling of the Little Arnot Run.