Saturday, July 29, 2006

Last Day on the Rivers: The Two-hearted

From a bluff overlooking the Two-hearted. This picture is from my 2005 trip down this river.

Unless you have been on it, you would not know that the river is even more beautiful than its name. And as others have said, its name is pure poetry. The Two-hearted! The name enchanted Hemingway and he used as a title of a short story he based on a fishing expedition on the Fox River. As far as anyone knows, Hemingway only saw the Two-hearted on a map. If that’s the case, he missed a treat.

I’ve paddle a lot of rivers, but this river has become my favorite (its closest rival being the Waccamaw River in Southeastern North Carolina). The stream meanderers back and forth through a thick forest, it’s bottom alternates between gravel and sand, and at places its banks rise high where the stream has cut into an ancient sand dune. Fishing is good. We put in at the Reed and Green Bridge (not to be confused with the Red Green Show). A few bends downriver, I cast a small spinner up off the bank. After only a few cranks on the reel, a trout took it and immediately jumped, doing a dance across the top of the water. He was too big to be a Brook Trout, but he got off before I could get him into the boat. A few minutes later, J. caught a Rainbow. It would be the first of many we would catch that day. Most were two small, under the 10 inch limit size, but we did catch more than enough large ones for our evening meal.

The best fishing along the river was around the confluence of the East Branch of the Two-hearted. The East Branch, with its noticeably colder water, came into the main branch on a sharp curve. We beached the boat on a sandbar on the west bank, just upstream, and fished down toward the confluence. Both of us caught large trout just above East Branch and placed them into the cooler. As we were walking back toward the confluence, we each picked out a hole just below it to fish. As a canoer first, a fisherman second, I’d been using light tackle including my pack rod. J. was also light line, but his spin-casting rod is 10 ½ feet long, longer than my largest fly rod! With 4 pound test line, a rod this long can reach out and touch anything. It also creates problems as J. is constantly tangled up in branches and there were many places with low hanging trees making it durn-near impossible to cast that pole. As we were walking over toward these holes, J jokingly cast over his long line out into my hole and immediately a trout takes his spinner. It’s the largest fish we catch of the day. But he’s stole my fish, and in fishing that’s the unpardonable sin.

However, there are plenty of fish to be caught. And below the confluence, the river widened and there were some small rapids and I pull out my fly rod and continue to successfully tempt the fish. But by this time it’s getting late in the day and we have to start paddling. When I had paddled this river before, you could hear the waves of Lake Superior several miles before the river arrived at the lake. However, the day was calm and we don’t hear any waves till right before we got off the river at 8 P.M. We quickly select a campsite at the river’s edge, locked up my canoe, drive back to the bridge to retrieve my truck. After watching the sunset across Lake Superior, under the light of a lantern, we fixed another trout dinner accompanied with fried potatoes and onions and dark coffee. The next morning, I drive south, crossing over the Big Mac and back home.


  1. Hi Sage. Welcome home from your odyssey. Your last day's rundown is just as intriguing as your previous entries from this trip.

    Makes me wish I could similarly get away and document my travels as well as you have yours. Wonderfully done!

  2. Yes, indeed, welcome back. You have had quite a trip, and I hope you are relaxed and rested now.

    As to your comment: no, I am not mentioned in that article.

    I thought of you tonight; I watched an animal planet show about bears in Montana. It showed them fishing for trout (red-throated, or something like that).

  3. Oh my, I have a lot to catch up on here! Staying busy as summer comes to an end, I'll be back to read about the river and reviews...

  4. Great trip journal and some idyllic moments. The names of the places are great, too. Sounds fun using a canoe for the exploring!

    Here via Michele's - Hi!


  5. Beautifully done, Sage. What's the origin of that river's magical name, anyway?

  6. Thanks Carmi, glad you enjoyed the stories

    Kenju, were you remembering my post about bear encounters or just trout fishing?

    Kontan, do catch up! Btw, our softball team is doing well and tied for first (probably because I've missed the past six games)

    Thanks Rashbre

    Wordnerd, I'll try to find out for sure, but it seems like I remember that the name got its name from two heart shaped lakes from which the rivers flow.

  7. It all sounds very beautiful and it sounds like you've had some good times there.

    Here from Michele's :)

  8. Thanks for the fishing etiquette 101.
    Sounds wonderful. I haven't been paddling in years, but I've found it meditative when I have. I can imagine fishing to be a different kind of quiet.
    Hullo from Michele's.

  9. Two-Hearted. Yeah, that's lovely. How do you manage to fit in all this traveling and fishing? I love your life. . . it sounds so nice.

    'Cept I can't stand mosquitos and such.

    Yawn! I need to get some sleep. Your prose is lovely, Sage.

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  11. There's that dang hat again. ;-) Tell us the tales behind it. Has it been on all of your adventures or is this a new reincarnation of an old favorite?

  12. I've paddled a lot of rivers in my lifetime as well and my sentimental favorite will always be the Buffalo River in NW Arkansas. 500 feet limestone bluffs along the river with hundreds of miles of some of the finest hiking along its shores just can't be beat. Of course, the Colorado River has a place in my heart as well because it is like being above treeline (no trees) on a river in a big canyon.

  13. i love these calm fishing tales. sorry about the one that got nicked though ;)

    and hmmm the two-hearted and then trout, fried spuds and onions... it doesn't get much better than that. my mouth's watering now.

  14. Bobealia, didn't realizing I was teaching fishing etiquette--that might be a good idea for a Nevada Jack post!

    Ing, I'm lucky to be in a position where I do have some flex time and can get away. And the mosquitoes just remind you that the river isn't really Eden, they keep you grounded in reality

    Murf, I have had at least three of those hats--one got so messed up I threw it away, another was lost, and I've had this one at least three years.

    I've heard good things about the Buffalo River, although I've never paddled it. I've done part of the Colorado and a long section of the Green, both nice rivers, but different that the wooded eastern streams.

    Keda, camp cooking is the best!

  15. Thanks for all the posts on your wonderful trip onto the Two Hearted River. I for one thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions of the trips. Seems like you had a great week of fishing and canoeing. Welcome back and regale us with more camp cooking recipes.

  16. Two Hearted, it does sound like a neat name and a great river location. As always, I enjoy reading your posts.

  17. Sage, thoroughly enjoyed the read. I used to do alot of salt water trout fishing on the coast of Georgia. Best eatin' fish in the world. Made me want to go fishing and I hadn't felt that way in long time.