A fish story

ImageToday, after breakfast I decided I would slip the pontoon into the local flow, and see if I could spot some Steel…Now to those in the know, “Steel” is the nickname that we dub those famous migratory Rainbow trout that spend a good chunk of their life in salt water, and then make a long journey back into their native stream to spawn. Unlike most species of salmon, who do the deed once, and then kick the bucket, Steelhead spawn repeatedly, and often propagate many new generations of trout in their lifetime. As I assembled my gear, and put the final tweaks on the pontoon boat, the rain pelting down on my head. I almost packed it in, and went inside to brew another pot of coffee…The inflatable was finally tethered to the roof rack, via bungees, and I was on my way..I arrived at  my little flow, to find the tide was just flood side of low. Perfect. When the cycle is too far along towards flood tide, the fish get lockjaw…When it’s too low, the river is sometimes so low, I almost have to portage. As I drifted downriver, I noticed that the leaves were just beginning to turn…I envisioned a day, 2 weeks or so, hence, when camera in hand, I would be snapping shots like an Asian tourist at Seaworld..I was secretly glad that I had the   river all to myself…As I came to a bend in the river, that had a large pile of deadfall adjacent to shore, I noticed the bottom suddenly changed color, as the depth dropped off, and the river bed was suddenly littered with stumps, and boulders. The normally silty riverbed had suddenly become trout friendly. Normally, I ignore the sandy-bottomed parts of the river,as they are often derided by anglers as “dead water”, water with little or no fish activity. It is so, because there is no security from predators…No rocks to huddle beneath or behind, no friendly stump to hover next to, out of the strong current, not even a patch of weeds, or sea grass to reside in, ready to ambush some poor unsupecting caddis fly, hatching and making its way to the surface, to do its silly dance…As I was perusing this morphing of the bottom, I suddenly was snapped out my reverie, as schools of startled Rainbow, and Speckled trout, were fleeing the ominous shape overhead, with the blue pontoons, and the angler with the vacant look on his face…Call them stupid! Yes, I did see some steel. I saw at least 3 or 4 salmonids, that would have topped 7 or 8 pounds. How nice it would have been, had they not seen me first? As I continued my drift downriver, I mused at how entry level my foray today had been…In my quest to find Steel, I had floated right to them, and might as well have been watching the World fishing network, or Real fishing. Egad!!(Hand smacking forehead, eyes rolling in their sockets, and lips forming curse words). A while later, let’s say about an hour and a half, (enough time for those beautiful hydrodynamic, rainbow colored missiles of torpedoed energy to forget me), I made my way back to the deadfall, and began to fish my fly. I did hook into a half dozen or so, much smaller specimens, every bit as feisty as their older generation, just not a tenth as much fun landing. Two of them made it to my frying pan, both about 10 inches long, and with flesh the color of autumn leaves..They were delicious, with a little shallot butter, some sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a little onion relish…I learned today that it’s not always finding what you seek, that gives you joy. Sometimes it’s just being happy with what you learned, instead. I’m no angling expert, nor am I the world’s greatest culinarian, I just like to practice both, and I usually find a way to make the two work together, and that makes me happy. By doing so,  I can usually make those that I love, happy as well….  Image 

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2 thoughts on “A fish story

  1. They say “life is a school”…your musings shared with us what you learned as you observed the “school of fish” in the river. A nice read!. Ellie.

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