The river was low and my expectations were high.
Those expectations remain--no fish today. But they remain high. It was nothing but good to get on the water after a two month hiatus. I left my rod, vest, and jacket behind the truck seat, and my boots and waders are drying in the bed. I hope to get out again tomorrow.
I was glad that my waders still fit after a holiday season of plenty of good eating. That's important now when you wear three layers under the waders. I could tell that it had been awhile since I had rock-hopped, waded, and climbed slippery banks, but muscle memory is a wonderful thing.
Here's my favorite run, and it is a run now, well-defined once again by the low water. I usually don't show the lime plant in the background in my pictures. It can detract a bit from the illusion that one is far away in the pristine wilderness, especially when the crusher is operating.
I was able to start at the top and work my way down, just like the old days. This is my favorite run because it's where I've hooked and lost and landed steelhead before. The slack water is convenient for getting enough control to beach them, if you can get them into the slack water.
I started out with a sinking tip and a brown krystal flash stonefly, then took the tip off and switched to a black bugger. I covered a lot of water and had to take a break to warm up the extremities a bit.
Two eagles soared past on their way downriver. I was able to get a quick shot of the second one. "Where eagles fly the steelhead lie," as the old saying goes. (OK, I made it up.)
I got a few bumps on one of my passes, maybe little smallies, or trout. It was good to make even that much connection with the piscine underworld.
I even explored a little and waded around to the other side of the run to fish where it deepens and then tails out. That is a very difficult stretch to reach from the bank--no backcast--and even from the other side I had to wade up to my crotch and cast a long line to fish it. I got cold.
I finally called it quits, sat down on the bank, and poured myself another cup of coffee. There's an old song about a lumberjack who stirs his coffee with his thumb. My thumbs were especially cold for some reason, and I was tempted to stick them in. Instead, I headed home and built a big fire. It still seemed to take longer than usual to warm up the room.
The full moon rose this evening, but unseen behind the overcast. Luckily I had seen it rise last evening when it was almost full. It's the way I feel tonight: almost full.