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Down the mountain to the river

The long road down the Mountain

The trek down the mountain was long and hard. The snow was deep and navigating the forested sections made the snowshoe work exhausting. In the beginning, the sun’s rays enticed me to continue. It seemed as if the miles would never end but finally, I reached the lowland.

Sometimes when I’m trekking, my body never feels well. It always feels like work, and yesterday was one of those days. I should have stopped more, perhaps even to have a hot drink and a snack to refocus my thoughts and reset my body.

Through persistent effort, I managed to reach the river. The river was wild and the previous day’s rain had risen the water level significantly. The water was brown. Dark brown and very muddy. In these conditions, the banks often fall into the river, producing this muddy, silt-filled soup.

A definite bad sign, if you are there to fish, and even worse if you are fishing for steelhead. I was not fishing for steelhead yesterday. I only wanted to reach my cabin to light a fire and get out of my sweaty, clammy clothing. As I make my way down the river I will soon reach a clear patch where I can enjoy the sunshine.

Perhaps these long periods in the dark forest are bringing me down. I break into the clearing and the sun stings my eyes. It is a nice feeling and I reach into my bag for my sunglasses. Sun protection it is, but more importantly, a feeling of comfort.

In a few minutes,  I’ll be at one of my fishing spots on this river. It is secluded and sheltered from the river’s turmoil. There are a few exposed areas along the bank where I can find some form of insect life to use for bait. I dig into the earth with my knife, and soon an insect scurries across the surface in an effort to get away. I quickly grab it as delicately as possible between my finger and thumb and continue on my way.

I have fished here many times, with good success, and hopefully, today should be the same. I have to drop my backpack and open it to access to my fishing rod and tackle. This I am doing with one hand so as to not damage my insect. Keeping it alive and active is always better to attract a fish, in this case, a rainbow trout.

I manage to extract my rod and tackle from the bag, and I carefully bait the hook before I extend my fishing pole to its full length. Now I can relax a bit as I delicately drop my baited hook into the river. 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 trigger happy. The fish has swallowed the hook or he is gone. I retrieve my line slowly, only to realize that he is gone. He has eaten my bait.

I reel in my line and place my fishing rod against the log. I have to find more bait. There is a fish down there and I want him. Walking back to that exposed soil patch, I find a sturdy stick and bring it along. Raking the soil with this stick is much easier than with my knife, and I quickly come up with an earthworm.

The best of the best. A good sized worm with lots of action in him. As I carefully maneuver him on my hook, I get more excited than before. The fish is there and this is my favorite offering. One more delicate drop into the water and I patiently wait for his return. Perhaps he has left, but no, as I feel him tugging gently on my worm.

Swallow it all, my little fish, swallow it all. Suddenly my line tightens up and I slowly retrieve my fish. A beautiful 14-inch rainbow. The feeling of elation that catching a fish produces never escapes me. Even my dog is impressed as I gloat in my achievement. I admire its silvery beauty as I return my thoughts to the river.

A fine meal he will make, after many days of marinated elk meat. I pack up and head towards the cabin feeling almost as content as when I caught my first fish. What a great day this is turning out to be, as I walk in the midday sun, trying hard keep up with my dog.


If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about fishing on the rivers or lakes, please do not hesitate to leave them in the space below.

Have you ever fished for trout on the river?

Do you fish on the rivers or do you prefer the lakes?

Paul

I am an avid outdoors enthusiast , and I spend most of my free time in the great outdoors . The mountains and rivers , ... and everything in between ... are always calling me . Nature is my sanctuary and my connection to God !

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