Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dean

The sound of trembling poplars stirs distant  memories of a river corridor that has few equals in the eyes of those who pursue steelhead. That particular afternoon the river was void of anglers, everyone choosing to enjoy a lavish lunch and nap before heading back out for the evenings fish.  I packed a peanut butter sandwich and some water instead,  wandering alone through dense forests, over molded stone and cobbles where the rivers bear and wolf also travel.  It wasn't so much to optimize steelhead opportunities as it was to immerse myself in this river and grasp completely why those who have come before me have such reverence for these waters.  

Quietly seated in natures amphitheater with a melody of rustling leaves and the rivers descending cadence lent a perspective to a watershed I'd not felt.  It's legendary steelhead I'd experienced, yet this resources shear majestic qualities, scope and grand theater these threatened fish run through came to fruition on those solitary afternoon strolls.  It as then I grew to understand the magnitude of this impressionable place.  

The last time I cast a fly under the Dean Rivers towering canyon walls, heard the shimmer of its century old cottonwoods, felt its glacially fed currents or the chaotic nature of its powerful piscatorial travelers was over a decade ago.  I still endure a vivid almost surreal recollection of those days.  My departing view from the small Cesna  that took me away from such grandeur was painful knowing I may never again have the opportunity to return. As time passed, those notions seem to be playing out. 

During a casual conversation pertaining to the state of the industries affairs an invitation to again return to the Dean River was recently extended to me. It wold be in middle of August, a time when often river conditions support the success of a well presented dry and definitely conducive to a greased line fly.  Rivers currents will be more tempered at this late juncture in the season, yet it's steelhead will be fresh and bright. I still remember.  Should this opportunity have not ever come along, I'll always remember the Dean.  It does that to you.  

I have always felt incredibly grateful for those early opportunities to fish the Dean.  However, this visit will be even more meaningful given the years that have transpired since my last trip regardless of the fishing.  Being a steelheader, to have the opportunity to fish such great waters is all one should ask. That in and of itself is enough.