The river was all trimmed for the season, and I was in the mood to search for my presents. When I was a kid I never actually looked for the treasure trove of presents my parents hid from us until Christmas morning. I enjoyed the surprise too much, and didn't want to ruin it.
But I'm all grown up now. I'd be happy to find just one of my presents. The sooner the better. That way, any day can be Christmas.
It was a little above freezing when I left home, and a little below when I got back. There was ice in my guides when I waded out, and when I sat on a dry rock my wet waders instantly froze to it.
I dabbled a bit in the Bridge Run but I still haven't figured out how to fish it because of that tree sitting right in the sweet spot of years past. I can't help wondering what a little dynamite might do to improve things.
Instead of that I picked my way upstream to the Glide.
I waded out deeper than usual to get my heavy fly as close to the far bank as possible. I had fished the near side the last time, and wanted to give the other side a try. There's a shallow shelf over there that drops off into the channel, and I had the pleasure of feeling the fly tick off the shelf and dive deep.
I also discovered that the near side, where I was wading, has a whole string of potholes along its length. I sort of knew that already, but usually I wade shallower and avoid them. Now, keeping my line, I found out how many there are, and how deep they are--plenty deep, for cold weather fishing.
The water lapping around my unmentionables and waist is cold, and I learned again a lesson of winter Steelheading: keep your body core warm, and after awhile your legs and feet go numb, and you actually feel pretty comfortable. The pain won't come until later, so in the meantime don't worry about it. Just fish.
I worked the Glide long and slow, and the swings were sweet and low, hugging the bottom and dipping into potholes. It's a perfect hiding place, and I thought sure I'd find something....
But I didn't, not this time. But that's OK. I'll keep looking. I know the day will come when I'll finally find a present, big and beautifully wrapped.
And it will have my name on it.