An awkward climb down the mountain
The climb down the mountain is long and arduous. The snow is deep, and navigating the forested sections make the snowshoe work exhausting. The sun’s rays spur me along, and the few short miles finally end, as I reached the lowland.
Sometimes when I’m trekking, my body just can’t warm-up to the task. It always feels like work, and today is one of those days.
Perhaps I should stop more to rest. A hot drink and a quick snack make for good fuel, but my pig-headedness will not have any of it.
A rest and a quick bite would make the trip much more bearable, but it’s not part of my plan this morning. I have just spent two nights on the upper levels of a ridge, that was very hard to reach, and what I intended to be a challenging and fun adventure, turned out to be a greater struggle than I anticipated.
Hard to believe that the climb down the mountain requires as much effort than the climb to the ridge, but finally I managed to reach the river. The river is raging and wild.
Yesterday’s rains have risen the water level significantly. The water is brown. Beige brown, and silty. Debris is everywhere on the surface. In these conditions, parts of the riverbank fall into the river and produce this muddy, silted soup.
Not a pleasant sight, if you are there to fish, and even worse if you are fishing for steelhead. I’m not fishing for steelhead, I only want to reach my cabin, to light a fire, and get out of these sweaty, clammy, wet clothes.
A break at last
As I lumber down the river bank, I can see a clear patch, in the forest, where the sunshine is breaking through the canopy.
The long hours in this dark boreal forest were not pleasant and I am wet and exhausted. This bright sunny opening looks very appealing, so I intensify my effort to reach it. I feel the sun’s warm rays instantly, and I dump my backpack unceremoniously to the ground.
Spread-eagle on the ground, I stare indirectly toward the sun. A few deep breaths make me realize that this is the first time I have stopped to rest since breakfast. The soothing thought of a sweet, hot chocolate drink triggers me to dig into my backpack.
My SnowPeak gets the water boiling and I pour a small portion of it into my cup to premix a paste before I fill my cup to the brim. A home-made, pouch of pure chocolate powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and powdered milk are my constant companion.
Adding boiling water to this mixture creates a chocolate drink that I savour and enjoy.
Rested and ready for Fishing
I am a short ten-minute walk from one of my fishing holes on this river. It is secluded and sheltered from the river’s turmoil.
There are always a few exposed areas along the bank where I can find some form of insect life to use for bait. As I dig into the soil with my stick, an insect scurries across the surface to escape.
I grab it, with the speed and stealth of a predator, as delicately as possible. Holding it between my finger and thumb, I continue on my way to the fishing hole.
I have fished here many times, with good success, and hopefully, today will be the same. Leaning my pack-frame against a Cottonwood, I open it to access my retractable fishing rod and my tackle box. I am doing this with one hand to not damage my insect. Keeping it alive and active is always better to attract a fish.
My target is a feisty, rainbow trout.
A good fishing hole
I remove my rod and tackle from the bag, and I carefully bait the hook before I extend the fishing pole to its full length. Now I can relax and focus a bit more.
I lower my baited hook into the river below me. The battle has begun. I wait quietly, trying to feel the insect’s motion on my hook.
Seconds turn into minutes, and I feel something nibbling on my bait. I let the fish nibble, he has to swallow the hook before I get too trigger happy. The tug on my hook is gone. I retrieve my line slowly, only to realize that he is gone. He has eaten my bait.
The Thief has Stolen my Bait
I place my fishing rod against a tree.
I need more bait. There is a fish down there and I want him.
Walking back to the exposed soil patch, I find a sturdy stick and bring it along. Raking through the soil again, with this stick is easier and I come up with an earthworm.
I’d better find a few more baits to bring along. More digging and I now have four earthworms. The best bait I can offer this hungry river resident. A good sized worm with lots of action in him. I maneuver him on my hook, trying to curb my excitement.
The fish should still be there, and an earthworm is the best I can offer him. One more delicate drop into the river water and I wait for the vibration to reach my finger. Perhaps he has left, but no, he is still at my hook. Perhaps his friend. I feel him nibbling gently on my worm.
Swallow the worm, my little fish, swallow it all.
The tugging on my line tells me to set my hook.
I Catch my Fish, … no release for you!
A beautiful 14-inch rainbow. The feeling of a fish on a line is one that is hard to describe with words. As I admire its silvery beauty, my thoughts leave the river, and now I want to fast-track it for the cabin and get a blazing fire started.
A fine meal he will make, after two days of dehydrated elk meat. I pack up and head towards the cabin feeling as content as when I caught my first fish.
What a great day this is turning out to be, as I enter the meadow, in the midday sun.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about fishing on the rivers or lakes, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.
I love to hear fishing stories and I even have a few of my own.
Have you ever fished for trout on a river?
Do you fish in the rivers or do you prefer the lakes?