Many years ago, poet Edgar Albert Guest wrote a poem entitled "Fishing Nooks." It goes as follows:
'Men will grow weary,' said the Lord,
'Of working for their bed and board.
They'll weary of the money chase
And want to find a resting place
Where hum of wheel is never heard
And no one speaks an angry word,
And selfishness and greed and pride
And petty motives don't abide.
They'll need a place where they can go
To wash their souls as white as snow.
They will be better men and true
If they can play a day or two.'
The Lord then made the brooks to flow
And fashioned rivers here below,
And many lakes; for water seems
Best suited for a mortal's dreams.
He placed about them willow trees
To catch the murmur of the breeze,
And sent the birds that sing the best
Among the foliage to nest.
He filled each pond and stream and lake
With fish for man to come and take;
Then stretched a velvet carpet deep
On which a weary soul could sleep.
It seemed to me the Good Lord knew
That man would want something to do
When worn and wearied with the stress
Of battling hard for world success.
When sick at heart of all the strife
And pettiness of daily life,
He knew he'd need, from time to time,
To cleanse himself of city grime,
And he would want some place to be
Where hate and greed he'd never see.
And so on lakes and streams and brooks
The Good Lord fashioned fishing nooks.'
So where are these fishing nooks? And how far must you travel to find one? Are they hidden in undisturbed cool glens tucked away somewhere in the forests, away from all sounds other than that of chirping birds and the rippling of a stream?
Or are they any places where your heart is at ease and where you can "play a day or two," as Guest suggests. Perhaps it's a lake in the middle of a city.
That's where Thomas Evangelisto, of Pittsfield, found his nook on May 12 while fishing Silver Lake in the heart of Pittsfield with his nephew Chris Obrien.
They were trying to catch carp, but Chris immediately caught a 2.5 lb. bass on just a piece of night crawler. A little while later, Tom thought he had hooked a common carp, but it wasn't putting up much of a fight.
He knew it was something big. When he landed the fish, they both were stunned to realize this was no common carp at all, but a goldfish (actually, a goldfish is a kind of carp).
Tom said that they both looked at each other and started to laugh. They estimated the goldfish weighed approximately 4.5 pounds and was amazingly thick. They couldn't believe that there were goldfish in there, but the fact that Tom caught one was even more surprising to them.
They continued fishing after that and Tom caught another large goldfish on a piece of worm. They also caught several more bass of good size, as well as perch, rock bass, crappie and sunfish.
They released all of the fish for they undoubtedly have traces of PCB's in them and shouldn't be eaten (probably they should be disposed of in a toxic waste dump). Although there was a clean-up of the lake a couple of years ago, it is believed that PCB's are still entering the lake from a nearby retention pond.
But nevertheless, it still is a neat little nook for city residents to enjoy some catch and release fishing without traveling too far.
CRANE LAND DONATION
Wow! 811 acres donated and preserved in perpetuity.
That's how many acres the Crane Company has donated to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council this past year. The most recent donation was a 126-acre parcel known as Jericho Woods, located between Hinsdale and Dalton.
A couple of miles of the East Branch of the Housatonic River, which provides excellent trout fishing, flows through that parcel. Dennis Regan, manager of the Berkshire district of the Housatonic Valley Association, and his group of volunteers recently developed the two mile Old Mill Trail which runs adjacent to the river.
It truly is a treasure to be enjoyed by residents and visitors of the Berkshires.
That parcel and the 685-acre Crane donation of a piece of land located in Pittsfield, Dalton and Lanesborough, known as the Boulders, is all open to the public. What wonderful donations by the Crane Company.
TAKE A YOUTH FISHING!
On Tuesday, from noon to 2 p.m., MassWildlife is celebrating Youth Outdoors Week at the Burbank Park Fishing Pier on Lake Onota in Pittsfield.
It is hosting a free, family-friendly, learn-to-fish event for anglers with little or no experience. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow theirs (equipment and bait will be provided).
MassWildlife staff will be on hand to provide instruction. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOMER OUELLETTE IS NOW FISHING BEYOND THE RIVER BEND
We were saddened to learn that Homer Ouellette, of Pittsfield, recently passed away at the age of 90.
He was an ardent fly fisherman and deer hunter who was well known and respected by many local sportsmen. He deserves a better write-up in this column, but I am currently away on a fishing trip.
When I return, I plan to give him a more fitting farewell.
Questions/comments: Berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone: (413) 637-1818