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Leopold, Aldo / Writings: A Sand County Almanac , Correspondence and Drafts

Drafts of essays in sand county almanac,   pp. [294]-[460] PDF (424.6 MB)


Page [309]

Published in Outdoor America, May, 1932 
(One illustration) 
THE ALDEJR FORK 
A Fishing Idyl by 
Aldo Leopold 
We found the main stream so low that the teeter-snipe pattered 
about in what last year were trout riffles, and so warm that we could 
duck in its deepest pool without a shEt.   ven after our cooling swim, 
waders felt like hot tar naper in the sun. 
The evening's fishing proved as disappointing as its euuiries. 
We asked that stream for trout, and it gave us a chub. That night we sat
under a mosquito s'iiudge and debated the morrow's plan. Two hundred 
miles of hot, dusty road we had come, to feel again the impetuous tug 
of a disillusioned brook or rainbow. 
*e  There were no trout. 
But this, we now remembered, was a stream of parts. High up near 
the headwaters we had once seen a fork, narrow,deep and fed by cold 
springs which gurgled out under its close-hermied walls of alder. What 
would a self-respecting trout do in such weather? Just what we did: go 
up. 
In the fresh of the morning , when a hundred whitethroats had forgotten 
it would ever again be anything but sweet and cool, I climbed down the 
dewy bank and stepped into the Alder Fork. A trout was rising Just upstream.
T paid out some lin -shing it would always stay thus soft and dry-- and 
measuring the distance with a false cast or two, laid down a spent gnat 
exactly a foot above his last swirl. Forgotten now were the hot miles, 
the mosquitoes, the ignominious chub. He too,- it with on- grent guln, 
and shortly I could hear him kicking in the f4ot bed of wet alder leaves
at the bottom of the creel. 


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