Monday, December 24, 2012

On the Eve of Christmas Eve

I awaited this bump for a while.  The river came up nice and was coming into shape for a few days that I had the ability to fish.  I had awaited this bump...
Sunday morning came very early after the previous nights Christmas cheer.  The alarm begged 5 am but settled for a compromising 5:45.  There was no rush to get to the river this morning.  Certainly winters late appearance would see to keeping the fair weather presence at home in bed.  The drive up was lonely and very relaxing.  The silence was welcomed as was the warmth provided by the old pickup's heater and Tim Horton's double double.  Checking the Hydrological Site I was pleased to confirm the river graph was indicating a much desirable 1.2M elevation.  My access was abandoned and all things were aligning for a classic winter steelheading outing. 
Exiting from the warmth of the truck a cold damp wind greeted me and I remember thanking myself for bringing a second thermal layer.  There was no rush and I took my time gearing up.  As I made my way past the fence I followed a single set of coyote tracks in the snow to the edge of the forest and disappeared into the shire.  There was a comfortable silence across the forested valley and a stillness one from the city would struggle to comprehend.  I stopped multiple times on the hike back to take in the nuances of this wintry December morning.  The beaver pond was partially frozen and I could see where he had broke through the ice to feed on the bark of a large tree he had recently felled.  I noticed this year's lodge addition and was impressed by the size and mastery of their work.  The pond is much larger this year and I suspect the family has grown.
Soon I found myself at the bank of the river.  It was nice to see her in her prime and I continued on past the beaver dam towards my much anticipated starting destination.  The entire way I laid first tracks in the snow and I so much longed for a lonely isolated day in the shire.  Half way down the trail a few more sets appeared much to my dismay.  It was a disheartening discovery and I reluctantly carried on towards my destination.  As I approached I could see from a distance through the cedars that both runs were occupied with as many people as I can ever recall being there.  I stopped dead in my tracks, collected my thoughts,  and proceeded to double back.  I was having none of that madness and I sought out some lonely water.  I began to work my way down river towards some old haunts.  The fishing was proving tough but I was not having any of that either.  I new things can turn around with the blink of an eye on mornings like this so I continued on picking away run after run. 
The river crossings were tricky but I exercised caution and took my time.  I stumbled upon one other gentleman on my way down and he politely carried on past me after a brief exchange of words.  Still I failed to convince any players.  Soon I found myself at a section of the river that harbours many fond memories.  We have had some good times on this water and I was really looking forward to her treating me well once again.  I started up high and two drifts proved of no significance.  I repositioned myself down another 6-7 yards  and picked a line tight to the gravel bar ledge that ran parallel to the main flow.  As if it were scripted my float dropped.  The rod loaded up and the line began to scream from the free spooling reel.  It was an awesome feeling and my once cold hands were nothing more than a distant memory.  The fight was worthy and the fish was released at my feet prior to any pics.  I regained my composure before settling in for round two.  My thoughts raced to memories of past outings on this water and  I remembered one specifically where we picked off fish after fish on a tight line towards the far bank.  I  cast my offering tight to the bank and mended it into position. 
Once again like a script from a movie the float dropped and another  player was thumping away on the end of the line.  Anxious for some images I carefully worked this fish down river and into the grassy shallows where she came to hand.  She was another proud Huron beauty and after a few pics seen her way back into the raging flow.  My outing was now complete and fulfillment had been had.  I fished a few more locations and turned a few more fish.  One to hand and one long distance released. Twenty plus fish days or three or four fish days...there is little difference to me anymore.  It was nice to be on the river and see her in shape.  It was nice to get my true winter steelheading experience back on the home waters.  I knew the rise in flow would bring in a new push or have the existing players blow on up through the system. 
I knew my best shot at a big day would be higher up  but I wasn't looking for that.  I was looking for some isolation, solitude, and relaxation.  Ironically I almost had that taken from me but that proved to be nothing a little more legwork couldn't remedy.  The ride home had me thinking about how nice the river would fish on Monday.  I contemplated a potential reduction in the recent crowds.  I had the green light to fish all day and much anticipated plans of doing such.  As I type this entry it is Chrismas Eve.  I didn't fish this morning...I decided it would have been forcing it and I didn't need that.  A well deserved good nights sleep and late morning rise were in order.  The river will be there when I need to visit her again and until then I have fond memories of my last visit.

1 comment:

Trotsky said...

Merry Christmas Numbnuts...
The river was good to us after all.