The thought of killing trout, especially wild trout is certainly taboo amongst fly fishermen in the 21st century. A wild Gunpowder brown is worthy of more than just table fare. Despite good or bad days on the water, angler’s stomachs never suffer. Although, the other true fisherman on this river rely entirely on the bounty the cold flowing water provides. Herons stalk the shallows at Masemore with a deftness that anglers could only dream of acquiring. King fishers lie in wait on high perches and watch for risers to present a target; not for a fly, but for their beak. Snakes lie coiled on the banks, under rocks and in log jams. They eat trout and just this year alone three reports from anglers told of such tales. We now have video footage and stills sent in by a customer who witnessed the food chain in action.
The river is home to various types of Water, Garter and Black Snakes. Copperheads are also found along the river in more numbers than most people would like to hear about. I have seen four copperheads this year alone. The Bunker Hill access now has signs warning of sightings around the bridge abutments. This video features a Northen Brown Water Snake. If anyone sees a snake latched onto a trout resist the urge to intervene on the trout’s behalf, as I once did last year. I managed to avoid getting bit, safely released both creatures, and separated them as if they were two young kids in a tussle. Now you two get along. Afterwards I quickly realized I accomplished very little. The snake surely went on to procure another trout and worse yet the first trout may not have recovered from the battle. It can be hard to watch something as beautiful as a trout being killed by a creature that resonates an innate wickedness in our mind. Resist killing or intervening to free a trout from a water snake because you may need medical intervention, if your snake identification isn’t as good as your insect identification.