Tuesday, March 27, 2012

River Report: The Whitefish Curse

I had another good time at the river Monday afternoon and evening. It was one more cool, wet day in a long string of them. We have been hoping that March would go out like a lamb, but it looks like it will remain leonine for the foreseeable future.

Still, it was a beautiful Spring day. I fished the Bridge Run, and once again found fish.

Unfortunately, they were Whitefish. I know I said I like to catch them, but not to the exclusion of other species. I couldn't seem to avoid them, and it began to feel like I was the victim of a Whitefish curse: for the rest of my life the only fish I would ever catch would be Whiteys. (Shudder...)

But I don't believe in curses, and, let's face it, Whitefish have their own kind of weird beauty. And these were good, heavy fish.

That snout of theirs looks rubbery on the outside, but it's bony on the inside, and it's not any too easy to extract the fly.

I decided to go in search of other fish--any kind other than Whitefish--and waded across under the bridge and fished the run behind the pylon on that side. In other years I've seen Steelhead jump in there, and I caught a nice trout up at the tail one year, but I found no fish of any kind today.

Except for this one. My guess is that it's an Eagle kill. It's good to be reminded that Whitefish are an essential part of the riverine ecosystem, and that they're helping sustain a healthy population of Eagles and other predators and scavengers.

I wandered upstream to the head of the island.

I fished both directions where the river splits around the island, paying particular attention to The Glide, but the low water has rendered that stretch too shallow to be much good.

So I spent most of my time looking up. The sky was full of Violet Green Swallows. I love those birds and their joyous flight.

I have recently posted photos of deep space with its myriad stars and galaxies, but this photo of a whole galaxy of Swallows over the river is just as awesome to me.

 I took one more pass through the Bridge Run before wading out, and hooked a little Smallmouth. I had tied on a classic Muddler and, small as he was, and big as the fly was, he hit it with everything he had. He came off before I could hoist him out of the current and get a photo.

But, thank goodness, he broke the Whitefish curse.


  1. "...a whole galaxy of swallows over the river is just awesome to me....." I always appreciate what you place importance on. They certainly are amazing flyers. Part acrobat, part dive bomber. Great photos and story!

    1. They are some of my most important fishing partners. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I've only caught a couple of whitefish in all my fishing ventures , on the Crystal River in Colorado. While I admit to being a little dissapointed at first glance that they weren't rainbows , after landing one or two others I decided that they gave a good fight and weren't so bad after all. I will admit though , they have a face that only a mother could love!!

  3. On so many occasions when on the water, I find myself looking up (or in) instead of down. Interesting how that works. And thank goodness for smallies, eh?

    1. Yes, I find myself looking every which way. And those smallies are big in my esteem.

  4. Sometimes we need to move the weeds to see the beauty of the flowers.
    Nice read.