To the Editor:
Regarding Bill Haynes’ letter of Dec. 16, “Manmade Mill Pond”: I’ve been fishing since I was 4 years old, and I have a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Rutgers University.
From the age of 9 through 18, I was a summer explorer/wanderer along the length of a 5-mile stream called Black Creek in the Hudson Valley. My older sister had acquired a bungalow in West Park, N.Y.
My memories are vivid. It took me several years to work up to exploring the upper reaches of the creek. There were no roads or paths. There was a series of small pools, rapids between them, and native brook trout. These fish were very small, maybe 4 to 7 inches, but they were spectacular to catch on flies I tied, unbelievably beautiful, and always released.
In the lower creek the herring would run in early spring. Hundreds couldn’t leap the higher waterfalls and would perish beside the stream; but hundreds more made the journey and propagated. In the summer, if you were there at the right time, you could see large numbers of fry returning to the Hudson River. There were also eels, longer than a foot, as well as bass, sunfish, pickerel, and so forth. I would snorkel in the calmer waters and see mayfly larvae and other neat stuff. And there was a naturally porous beaver dam below Charlie’s, the local swim hole.
I assure you, if you could witness such beauty in Mill Brook, a very similar body of water, you wouldn’t miss the swans. And if you were young enough, you might pursue a degree in science.