Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My River - Part #2

While the Cemetery Road Bridge was being dismantled, I went up river to the Elmwood Road or Dump Bridge as we called it. Downriver the water was muddy because of the constant truck and loader traffic in the river to remove pieces of the old bridge. It was called the Dump Bridge because the land between the north and south branches of the river where they met was used as a town dump. The bridge was a small narrow affair only about 2 car lengths long and barely wide enough for 2 cars to pass. People normally only crossed it one car at a time.

About 10 years ago they replaced that bridge too, after a young woman was killed there when she drove off the side of the bridge. It sat in the middle of a tight "S" curve on an old gravel road. It had happened before in about 1969 in the middle of winter. My brother and I were hunting nearby and heard a strange noise, a little later we heard sirens, and so started walking down the river on the ice. When we came in sight of the bridge, we saw a car with it's front end in the river and it's rear bumper resting on the bridge, almost standing straight up & down. The police and fire department were there and they had just put the driver, an elderly man, in the waiting ambulance. He was injured but okay. After this accident they put strong guardrails on the bridge and approaches. This last time they moved the road, built a new bridge with almost no curve and paved the road. The new bridge sits a little to the east of where the old one sat.
The following photos were all taken during the normal mid-summer low water level.
The area where the new bridge sits was once a snapping turtle egg laying ground. I had watched many of them laying eggs in the sand there and saw the hatchlings emerge and head to the water for the first time. The stones at the base of the pilings almost fill what was once a deep pool of water in the very shallow river. I had caught many pike by casting near those bushes that extend over the water.
The river ran a little deeper and stronger on that side and those branches effectively hid the pike waiting in ambush.

These photos show what lengths a young fisherman will go through to get out to the big stones in the middle of the river, to get better access to prime fishing spots, without getting his feet wet. Underneath the new bridge are two large stones that I used to catch tons of rock bass and bullheads from underneath. The bullheads were a favorite of my mother.

This photo shows the only spot on the river where I ever caught chain pickerel. (After I discovered wading to fish with lures.) These photos are all from the east or up river side of the dump bridge over the north branch of the river.

Here is the red barn from part#1. Behind the barn is the south branch of the river.

Here is a closer view.

This is the west or down river side of the bridge. To the left is the old dump and to the right is the OLD Elmwood Road. The water is deeper here and is home to smallmouth and larger rock bass.

The old bridge sat almost on top of this area, it is a deeper pool that my brother and I helped create by adding more stones to the rapids in the upper portion of the photo. After 45 years of spring run offs, the area around our dam has filled in with smaller stones and gravel.

Somewhere in these two photos is a pike fingerling about 6-7 inches long. I know it is there somewhere, but all of my photoshop skills failed to bring it out of hiding.


warren said...

Pretty brave giving up your fishing hole to the general public!

Those pics remind me of where I grew up. Lots of little creeks and streams with fantastic wildlife and nature all around. Very cool!

GreyWolf said...

Warren: Not so brave when there aren't any fish left to catch there...LOL
Besides, I am saving a few spots for myself.

farm mom said...

oh yeah, don't worry warren, he hasn't given up the goods!! :)

warren said...

I haven't found any spots yet in WV. Too close to Charleston, the fish are toxic from the chemical plants. I just need to explore more I guess! I love a good spot though...