Forest Fire Warning
In the early summer , when the forest fire index ranges from high to extreme , I convince myself to stay away from my mountain retreats , and spend these dry , hot days , in the lowlands , near the rivers , where It’s easier to find shade and cooler temperatures . Now , I turn my thoughts to finding those elusive fish that inhabit these swift-flowing waters . It’s quite warm for fishing , and early in the season , and this keeps most hard-core fishing enthusiasts away from the river . This window of opportunity I use for scouting the river . Often alone , on long stretches of river , I use this time to read the water and search for birds and other wildlife that frequent these waters for the same reasons I do – shade and cooler temperatures , but also for food .
Early Morning At The River
Day is slowly breaking and the sun is still below the horizon as I make my way to the riverbank . Scout , my dog is following close behind me . He is part Husky , and his sled-dog genetics are embedded with running , and running in first position – he is a lead dog . With patience and purpose , I have finally taught him that there are times when he must be in number 2 position . This , he doesn’t enjoy very much , but he is intelligent enough to understand the concept in his own canine way . Fish will sometimes rest close to the river banks , downstream from structure , where the flow of water is less severe . For this reason , seasoned fishermen will never charge to the river bank , lest they spook that fish that will dart away because of noises or shadows . This is part of their survival mechanism – debris knocked off the bank by predators and shadows from above – in the way of eagles and osprey , especially .
Fish ON !
As I get within a few meters of the river bank , we stop , and I retrieve my collapsible fishing rod from my back pack . As I bait my hook , Scout is lying besides me , patiently waiting to see what I’m doing – he’s seen it all before and by now has grown into a very mature and wonderful fishing companion , – and besides , he likes fish also ; keeps his coat shiny and his stomach full . I gently toss my hook close to the edge of the bank and before I can get comfortable , I feel the strike and quickly tug my pole . Fish on ! After a short struggle , I land my fish , – a beautiful one-pound rainbow trout . To Scout’s dismay , I release the fish back into the river . He gives me a puzzled look , as re-pack my gear to continue our walk up the river bank . Sniffing his way along the trail , and wagging his tail in bliss , the fish is now far from his thoughts .
Onwards We Go
Today is for exploration , and we venture upstream in search of more secret hideaways where fish might want to rest , as they struggle upstream , some to spawn , and others resident to the river . In the distance , I see a dipper , and a kingfisher flies by . I hear a towhee , and warblers and other birds that I can’t quite identify . As we make our way upstream , ducking through the bushes and saplings , I wonder If Scout is enjoying our Saturday hike along the river as much as I am .