At first glance it looked fishy, really fishy. But once you were in it you realized that there wasn’t much trout holding water. The bottom was a smooth green shale, sometimes the only structure were the random cracks forming miniature canyons in the creek bottom hardly big enough to wedge a wader boot in. There were only a couple spots were there was enough gravel and bottom structure to hold and produce food for a trout in the ravine, but I still wade it and make occasional casts every time anyhow. It’s too beautiful not to.
At some point it becomes about you and the water, and everything else just falls into place. Fish only matter when they’re caught, but don’t ruin a day when they’re not, and life balances out for those brief times in between all other life.
. So I suppose instead of saying I’d be casting to the wrong feeding lane it would be better to say that I probably wouldn’t know where to cast and I’d just be casting to nothing. Which I do a lot of year round, not just in the winter. So maybe it’s not just a winter thing, but since the fish are actively feeding during the spring through fall seasons maybe I’ve just got better odds of casting close enough to get a reaction now and then. The more I analyze this, the closer to the epiphany that I might just not be good at any of this fly fishing stuff I get, so I’ll stop now while I still have at least a shred of dignity left.
There’s only so many flies you can tie, so many books you can read, all the while telling yourself there’s only so many days in the winter. I’ve actually got a couple winter fishing trips planned in the next coming weeks, but they’re not to warmer climates, no. They’re within driving distance because it’s all I can afford and a couple days is all the time I have. That means layers of clothes, frozen fingers and toes, and in my case, most likely a lot of casting and very little catching. I don’t mind the very little catching, but I mind it a whole lot less when it’s not fourteen degrees out and the temperature is going to reach a high of nineteen. But I shouldn’t complain. It could be worse. Not much, worse, but at least the rivers aren’t frozen over like the lakes.
I’ve never gone for steelhead. They’ve always been attached to a stigma for me that was called the Salmon River. And to me the Salmon River has ninety-nine percent of the time meant crowds, anglers at every bend and pool, before it’s ever meant big fish. To me. I’ve fished it in the heat of summer for smallmouth and it was great, but maybe I shouldn’t say that out of a fear of giving away a good secret. But then you have to ask yourself if I’m just lying to distract you from other waters in the summer time. I am a fisherman after all, and all fisherman lie.