Lessons on Humility whilst Standing in a Steelhead Stream

It just had to work again.  Nature likes persistence.  I was wrong…

Modeled predictions – Yesterday provided satisfactory results all around.  The plan was to improve upon everything this morning – just make it a little better.  Found a new lie to fish through, contemplated a schedule (early), tailored some flies for the situation, prepared some food, and went to sleep trying not to think about how the morning was going to be one of those memorable days when I had hooked enough and decide to head home early to have a leisurely day off at home.

Actual observations – Arrive on time, confidently and patiently rig up,  get the waders on while chatting with a fellow showing up for work on the nearby road project.  Same pre-dawn scene at the bank.  Steaming water, and brilliant glow behind the mountain.  It’s a fair bit warmer this morning, too.  Ohh, this is even better than I was expecting!  I walk straight down to the crossing for East-West run.  On the wade across a pod of about eight or so fish pushes over the riffle, see me, then turn back down.  Getting better all the time.  I arrive and start high up on the run so I can fish down into the far side lie methodically and, of course, patiently.

As the sun first peeks through the trees on the ridgeline a focused intensity permeates the air.  Water vapor oozes everywhere in wispy tendrils that catch the first rays.  The river slides purposefully over the cobbles beneath.  Everything seems at work.  Fish roll up and down the run, some of them splashy affairs that might suggest steelhead.  Along the far bank are various slicks and seams that call out for a fly to swing through them.  The casts, mends and swings are perfect throughout.  Along the way a half pounder is hooked and jumped as the fly swings around on the dangle.

At one point , I catch myself absent of all thought.  The usual upstairs chatter is missing for a few moments.  Those moments.  Fish show here and there, the run is fished through.  I start at the top again, changing to a lighter pattern.  Halfway down a half pounder is hooked and released.  Nothing else doing.  The sun is well up now and morning is kicking in.  I head back upstream to fish the very bottom of North-South and only one grab to show.

A sure thing comes up short of expectations.  But it provides the perfect lesson.  And finding emptiness is rarely bad…

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