A chance encounter on the Yakima
A couple years ago, new to Washington, I made my first trip to the Yakima River—a Columbia tributary in the southcentral part of the state. I arrived after dark, with moonlight revealing glimpses of the river as I neared the campground. By the time I got there it was pushing midnight, yet most of the campers were still awake. As I organized some gear, I overheard my neighbors discussing the day's fishing. Their campfire was burning so I wandered over.
Scattered around the site were four beatup tents, a half-dozen rickety camp chairs, a stack of rafts, a truck-bed trailer, and Barry, the site's occupant. I asked about the fishing and Barry gave a lengthy report.
Because fishing and fiddling go well together.
The browns had started to rise just as Sam Bush was taking center stage. Twenty yards of dimpled St. Vrain trout water was all that separated me from Planet Bluegrass amphitheater and a full night of music in Lyons, Colorado. The urge to tube my rod prematurely and forgo my well-designed plan was tempting, but I knew the river had something left to give. A final fish slashed at a wildly swung caddis and made a couple runs before coming in. With my gear stashed I made my way through the crowd to my tarp. I stood for some time in my wading boots, wiggling my toes to better feel the parts of the river I’d taken with me. I looked out across the crowd, beyond the stage, and back to the canyon water. Then Sam began to play...
(Re)Gaining a penchant for pinks.
Just wanted to drop you a line, see how things were going. I realize that I've taken your very existence for granted for a long time, and I am truly sorry. Hope to see you again soon...
Where did it all go wrong? From such a joyous beginning, my personal relationship with the pink salmon had eroded into a caustic bitterness, a sneering condemnation of the very traits that make the humpy desirable to anglers across the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Had familiarity truly bred contempt, a loathing so deep that it triggered random kicking of spawned-out humpy carcasses? This was not proper behavior for a fly angler and guide, an ambassador of the Quiet Sport and a steward of the wilderness.
Nighttime is the right time
IN MICHIGAN'S AU SABLE RIVER VALLEY — cultural hub of the Water Wonderland — summer's Hexagenia hatch is the source of much anticipation among river families. This is not just a father-and-son ordeal; entire lineages come out of the woodwork to share one of the richest traditions in the Mitten. Generations of anglers are lured to this muggy riparian zone north of Detroit to sift through fly boxes among wild iris and flashlight beams. Hex is by a1 means a family affair. If house hold habits seem a tad off during this time of year, perhaps the best explanation lies in the solstice happenings of June 21, when many creatures tend toward odd behavior. And somewhere downstream, fish are preparing themselves for an unreal feast.