Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stubborn Love

I awoke in the bed of the truck several times that night. I thought that 36 hours without sleep would have me sleeping like a baby until my alarm woke me before sunrise. I was wrong. I felt wide awake and soon found myself checking the time on my phone. 3 o'clock. Way too early for anything. I felt the truck rock back and forth as Adam tossed and turned in the front seat. He was having the same problem. The chilly temperatures instantaneously made me need to use the bathroom as I exited my sleeping bag and got dressed. It was raining outside and I headed into Walmart to meet the night shift.

We ended up arriving in Pulaski a few hours early with no where to go but McDonalds. Cheap coffee and a few chocolate chip cookies warmed our bodies as we waited for the first sign of light in the parking lot. A few humorous sketches and fly fishing videos fresh off the Internet helped pass the time. A quick check on the river levels revealed a dam release doubling the flow of the river. Any steelheader knows that sort of news can be a good or bad thing. For one, it can trigger a fresh run of fish inspired by the heavy flows or it can mean that the fish were going to be a little confused and disoriented. The day ended up falling in the latter category.

Hoping for some fish movement, we headed to the lower sections of the river and fished a mile of unexplored water that was really inviting. Long stretches of riffles and runs kept us at it all day long despite little to show for our efforts. The river and its fish were stubborn on this particular day despite our success the day before. We were left shaking our heads. However, in one particular run, by some divine intervention, Adam was gifted with a small one that hardly put up a fight.

Some days on the water don't go according to plan. This seems to happen a lot winter steelheading. Faced with a stubborn day, changing water conditions, and incredibly slow fishing we headed down river looking for some fresh fish. We found new water and some good company from Canada but never found the fish. It just wasn't our day. That's steelheading.

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