Sunday, February 27, 2011

"...did you ever stand and shiver just because you were looking at a river?"

This partial quote is from Ramblin' Jack Elliott and it does pretty much describe how I feel about fly fishing.

My latest adventure on the Salmon River did happen as planned. My husband was right, I had the chance to go and should go because the weather is as the weather does. If I had stayed home I would have been wondering what I was missing. So I went on what will probably be my last steelie trip for the winter.

Two out of the three days were good for fishin'. Friday started out cloudy but it wasn't too long before blue skies and sunshine were out and layers of fleece were coming off as I treked up and down the Salmon River following my guide. It was great to see some eagles flying above the trees as they too seemed to appreciate the hint of spring in the air, the warmth of the sun. The silent passage of the wood ducks as they followed the course of the river would have gone unnoticed if it weren't for another angler who pointed them out to us. I looked up and watched the pair as they headed upriver, most likely to a nesting site. Then there were all the black stoneflies moving about on the snow covered banks. At first glance they appeared to be moving imperfections on the snow but I stopped to look take a closer look and was amazed at how many of them had been roused by the warmth of the sun.

As always there was the steady pulse of the river against my legs as I tried to dig in and keep my footing. That feeling of the river coupled with the sound  it makes as it heads for Lake Ontario did make me shiver and not because I was cold, because I wasn't. Unlike my last couple of trips this time I had the pleasure of the sunshine warming me up as I stood out in the river at a spot I had never fished before. I was soaking up the sunshine, the intermittent warmth of the breeze, the clouds racing up high above indicating a change in weather;  all that surrounded me as I attempted to coax a fish to fly connection.

Saturday was a totally different experience. The blue skies and 40F temperature of Friday were replaced with 35-40 mph winds and lake effect snows. Pulaski wasn't too bad, the brunt of the storm was further south. So with a good book I settled in for a day of reading.  No phone, no computer, no email, no radio, just the sound of the wind for background noise. I couldn't remember the last time I had such a quiet day. It was a good thing.

Sunday dawned bright with sun, no wind, a light covering of snow and a much colder temperature than Friday.  It was the same river but a different experience. There was no hint of spring in the air. Not this time. This time my guides were icing up at an annoying rate and all my layers of fleece stayed on. I had my turtle fur pulled up over my ears to keep them warm and despite the hand warmers I stuffed into my pockets I even broke out my gloves. There weren't any stoneflies out either. There was the occasional piece of ice that would scare the crap out of me as it bumped against the back of my legs, sometimes staying there until I kicked it away. One piece of ice got a thorough ass whuppin' as I sent it on down. Yes sir, I showed that ice who was boss!

The day just seemed to move too fast  for me and soon it was time to pack it in and call it a day. I hate making that final cast, especially knowing it might be several months before I get back up there.

Now at this time you may be wondering, "Good Lord girl, did ya land any fish?!"
I won't tell, not for this trip.

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