Written by Joseph Drasler

To my knowledge, I was the only lone trout fisherman, during the 30's, roaming the banks of such picturesque streams as Bracebrook (above and below the reservoir that provided our town's drinking water), Halfway House and Curtis Valley - all within walking distance of Browndale.

Only on one occasion, can I recall meeting another person fishing these streams. He was an older man, known and feared by all kids because he was the town constable--the law, in other words--responsible for settling disputes related to drunkenness, family squabbles, and all the minor misdemeanors common to any small, provincial town.

Coaxing colorful, speckled, brook trout with worms, flies, or white grubs I found in decaying maple tree stumps, fascinated me no end. I never passed up the opportunity to be up early of a morning, ready to tackle a five-mile hike to my favorite trout stream. Creel strapped on my shoulder (in which reposed a sandwich and an apple for my lunch), knee-high boots on my feet, and my telescoped fly rod in hand, I was obsessed with visions of large brookies waiting in favorite holes, at undercut banks, and in long stretches of rippling waterówhere every cast was likely to produce a strike.

I would become totally lost in the rapture and sheer delight of those carefree summer days.

Most of the local fishermen were invariably attracted to the numerous lakes that could be reached by a few mile hike in any direction from our town. Fortunately for we kids, however, who had no automobile transportation, all of the lakes were within walking distance. Come to think of it, we were not beyond hopping a coal train, taking on water at the local water tower, and riding it all the way to Stillwater Dam or to Poynell Lakes.

How many happy, joy-filled days were wiled away wandering along those sparkling mountain and meadow streams!

What beautiful catches of native brookies - red fleshed and sweetly delicious, filled my creel! All neatly packed between layers of green grass to keep them fresh.

Returning home from those happy jaunts, in the warmth of the summer sun, with the sounds of nature all about, weary and hungry - those were days of pure ecstasy. When a young lad's heart and spirits were lost in sheer delight.

The following is the end of a related story Uncle Joe wrote about the outdoors in general, but it fits well here.

In that tender age before I owned my very first automobile, I was forever hiking to some far-off secluded lake, or trout stream, in search of a new fishing experience. Although there were at least a dozen lakes within five or six miles of our backyard, it seems Whiteoak Pond was my very favorite that held me in its ever-lasting spell.

Trout fishing had a special appeal for me - more than for any of my brothers. It was a specialty of my own. I loved to roam the small streams, within walking distance of home, and coax fat brookies with worms, grubs or flies. As many times as I returned home with my creel filled with ten and twelve inch brook trout, none of my brothers could be induced to follow suit. The only other local trout fisherman I knew of was our town constable, Roy Reagon, who I met a few times on the five streams I fished. Since we were little kids, we avoided the town constable like a plague. He was the all-powerful law in our town. All infractions of the law - which consisted mainly of drunkenness and wife-beating - were accountable to his authority. Once, when I observed him fishing some choice riffles in the stream up ahead of me, the old fear of him returned and I headed back downstream.