Wednesday, January 18, 2012
As we made our way over the mountain, clouds enshrouded barren trees in shades of blue and purple. My hands reached upwards and over a swollen face, a product of wisdom teeth removal less than 24 hours before. A few impacted teeth and a mouth full of stitches weren't about to keep me down. I had a long weekend and I intended to fish.
The temperatures were in the low 20's and dropping with the sun over the trees. We descended into a favorite ravine under evergreens and atop leaves covered in the slightest hint of snow. The roar of the stream could be heard below as it tumbled downhill over and around large boulders.
Stream-side, we rigged under a canopy of rhododendron. Settling on nymphs, when we should have been sorting through streamers. We felt outgunned throwing two weights in the high, deep water, no doubt home to a few hogs hiding in their lairs. Our efforts were somewhat futile but today was more about the surroundings than anything else.
Besides the aforementioned green, brown, and white courtesy of mother nature, man had left its imprint as well. A bridge connecting a trailway above a deep pool looked like it had aged well since its inception. Names were left carved into green stained wood. A sluggo lure hanged on a tree with a rusted hook penetrating its midsection. The plastic and mono remained unchanged as the hook slowly withered away. Assorted trash was left wedged in between boulders, no doubt remnants from summer swimming sessions.
My lone chance came at the base of a fifteen foot waterfall. The water fell into a deep basin and flowed briskly to its escapement along a vertical ledge. I casted my double nymph rig in vain, knowing full well my flies weren't about to reach the zone before they exited the pool. Just as they were about to go over the lip, a brown ascended from the depths and took the lead fly.
The lone fish used the current and made his way downstream as I brought him into the slower water. Careful not to fall amidst the large granite slabs, I cradled twelve inches of salmo trutta briefly before releasing the fish back to his short stretch of home.
Atop the waterfall, we expected greater results but left empty handed. The ravine left us cold and tired from the hike. She kept her secrets on this January day. We will no doubt be back some other time to unlock them and enjoy the company of the river and the ravine it calls home.