Thursday, December 08, 2011


Opportunity..noun...[op-er-too-ni-tee]... a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.

In life one has  choice...Seize the moment  and embrace the opportunity to live life to the fullest or ignore the wonderful gift and go on not knowing the grandeur of what could have been.  Today we embraced the gift and visited a Lake Huron Jewel.  It had been a while since the home waters had come into there own.  Recent times have converted these precious flows into high rising and quick falling systems.  There is no longer a fishable in between and the window is very tight.  The fish seem to have managed to adapt fine.  As a steelheader you have to seize the opportunity or roll the dice.
This time of the year can be hit or miss.  Some years have had  the rivers locked up in a frigid icy grip by now while others find the emerald gem flow open through to the season's end.  Even when the flows manage to keep open there is always the ever daunting risk of morning slush this time of the year.
The forecast was marginally mild in comparison to what we have dealt with in past December outings.  Arriving to the access site I had to question the thermometer.  It was apparent that the cold wind was definitely adding a windchill effect but still it bothered me just how much the cold was bothering me.
Arriving to the rivers edge she was exactly as predicted.  On the front end of being fishable.  Impeccable timing mid week typically equates to peace, serenity, and sore shoulders.  Today's outing was a-typical.  The fish were scattered throughout the system and nothing came easy.  The way it should be in my opinion.  Large numbers and fish in a barrel can be novel but more than not ruin a man.  The cold nights and runoff have put the fish in a pre-winter state of lethargy.  They fought hard but a few degree's warmer  would have had our asses  handed to us numerous times on this big water day. 
Big water brings inherent challenges.  The fish can scatter throughout the system and one needs to be persistent and approach the river with a plan.  Another challenge comes in the form of crossing.  One would think they know their own flows intimately but big water changes the game.  A multiplier to the dangers of crossing in December are the frigid temps.  Today I witnessed a near tragic situation get thwarted but not before humbling my peer and giving him a new found respect for our ages and   river conditions.  I gave up crossing the river without a staff a long time ago and can proudly say it has come to my aid many a time.
One over occurring theme of the day was the cold.  I has been a long time since I have had to contend with the cold on this level.  To be quite honest it was no where near the severity of typical winter outings but the effect early on was harsh.  It  was never an issue that couldn't be dealt with via a small hand warming break or walk in the bush but more a reminder of our ages and maybe we are getting softer.  The hike out to the car was certainly another indication.  Driving back we discussed the hike and weather or not we would consider it this winter under a foot of snow fall. 
The thoughts and sentiments were certainly leaning towards the softer side.  Are we at the beginning of the end...I highly doubt that but will our approach be more thought out and reasonable...I would think so but honestly who can say? 
So today we seized the opportunity...the gift of fishable high water in December and today we were rewarded for living.


Trotsky said...

lISTEN,...that river doesn't friggin scare me...I am one with the fishes

Shoreman said...

Being old, the river does scare me. We just don't bounce back like we used to. In my case, I use my staff anytime I'm in the river. Better to be safe, then sorry.


Harv said...

that is some crazy wading dudes!! I don't think I could do that anymore - the river does scare me as I just don't seem to be as stable on the old pins as I used to be - I wiped out about 3 times yesterday!!!!

Great post - November kinda sucked on our river so good to see December shape her up.....

Your new access point seems to have gotten ridiculously popular - until this year I had rarely seen anyone else in there :(


lambton said...

I hear ya Harv...a few years back I started using a staff to cross on those 1.6ish outings...I've had a few crazy near-misses and I managed to stay dry. Ever since I aways utilze a staff. Just makes sense to me. We go pretty hard for old dudes and one mistake on the wrong outing could seriously mean game over. On this outing Norland tried to cross without a his foot stuck between two boulders and almost went down. I mean half way there and got his footing. That flow would certainly have pinned him to the bottom if his foot stayed captured. Scary crap!
As for access popularity...yep we used to hike all the way up there. Too many surpirse disappointments had us hiking in and starting there. Thursdays seem to be a good call. ;0)