Friday, April 10, 2009

Trout Fishing Camp

Last weekend I got to go trout fishing on the river. Well, that is to say I expected to go trout fishing but the river was up big and the trout refused to bite so I ended up hunting instead - for morel mushrooms. That's the subject of another post in another blog which you can read here if you'd like: The Morel of the Story.

Being out there on the river is one of my favorite places and my weekend trip reminded me of another time when the water was lower and the fish more cooperative.

It was a camping trip that weekend and cool water flowing down the valley provided relief to a warm summer day. We pitched the tent and set out to catch a few rainbow before supper. A lack of rain that year made the river run low and clear, crystal enough to see the bottom with ease and spy the trout we hoped to catch.

I really can't recall how many fish we caught that day, just that it was calm, relaxed and enjoyable. That night was a contrast as we awoke to the sound of something rustling the trash only to discover a couple of hungry skunks poking around just a few feet from the tent. Being at eye level to an animal known to present a pungent liquid defense when provoked was unsettling to say the least.

But we awoke the next morning unscathed and with no more odor than your typical camping trip so we were ready to head out and catch breakfast.

Cold water released from upstream dams was reacting with the warm air and a dense fog had settled across the top of the river completely obscuring it. Only the sound of water flowing by, licking downed limbs and old tree roots somewhere underneath that blanket of fog let us know the river was still out there somewhere.

We were hungry and not about to let a lack of vision keep us from our appointed rounds so we launched the boat and headed out in search of rainbow. While seeing straight ahead, or for that matter left, right, behind or above us, proved nearly impossible, we did find out that the river was as gin clear as it had been the day before.

We motored upstream slowly and carefully as it was hard to get our bearings and just as difficult to determine whether we had joined any other fishermen who may be anchored or, worse, headed downstream toward us. Fog has a way of playing with the senses, not only blinding us but also making sounds project differently. Any noise we made in the boat seemed amplified as it bounced off the thick air while that same heavy fog made it tough to figure out where sounds away from us were located.

It made little sense to progress much further as it was not really possible to tell where we were going anyway, so we stopped, threw out the anchor and tossed in the lines. In a matter of seconds the first fish was on and it was followed closely by the second, third and fourth. In no time at all, we had caught our limit of nice sized rainbow trout which made a perfect compliment to fresh eggs, fried potatoes and campfire biscuits.