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A week ago we were in another of those weather windows with temps in the upper thirties. I would have made today's trip then, except I got sick. Now that I'm feeling better the weather has gone frigid again. We've had a string of days under freezing with nights in the teens. But I made the trip anyway; I had a window, and not fishing chills the soul.
The truck is great. The heater works and everything. So time on the road was a pleasure. It's around an hour to the mouth of the river, and I drove upstream another half hour or forty minutes--who knows, maybe it was another hour--just checking things out before turning around.
It is a sweet river, but of course today it was full of ice. But this stretch looks good for when things open up a little more. The Mergansers looked fat and happy.
On down the road at this public access site there was plenty of evidence that someone's been fishing. It looks real good, and there's plenty of room up and down river.
I decided to go ahead and string up here and at least get the line wet. I eschewed waders this time and stayed on the rocks and cast out along the edge of the ice on the far bank.
It felt good, and I got a few good swings in before I had to start clearing ice out of the guides. I was fishing, but today it was mostly symbolic: planting the flag in new country, and staking a claim to a new year on the water.
It was cold, but also beautiful. I was glad for some shots of the icy water.
I'll go back during the next weather window. But I'm glad I went today. As the saying goes, "Cold hands, warm heart." And as I sailed along Mother Columbia on a course for home, I thought about how sometimes ice in your guides can warm your soul.