Monday, July 16, 2012
The narrow dirt road showed signs of wear, to our pleasure none recent. Debris lay strewn about much of the dry rutted road; bits of winter’s aftermath still lingering among the hidden shadows of the canyons sandstone walls. The year still young has been historically mild, moisture sparse, especially compared to the previous couple of years. With this in mind we ventured off the beaten path in hopes of finding a stream void of others, just a few willing trout and an early window to fish water that normally affords few if any early opportunities.
Several sandstone spires roughly etched by time stand sentinel over the entrance to a hidden oasis. Entering the confined valley ancient cottonwood, dense willow and abrasive river birch lay drab and bare compared to the lush foliage that we left behind. At first glance we gaze upon a river surprisingly clear its tributaries yet to dilute the streams clarity with spring’s freshets; considering this past arid and mild winter that may never happen.
Somehow we managed to not hit anything or drive off the narrow furrowed road as we made our way up the rivers valley. When it ran near water we paid little attention to its meanderings or condition instead taking every opportunity to discover shadows with flowing tails, a flash, an undulating ring or the flutter of life as it emerged into a terrestrial world.
Several miles above the rivers largest tributary we pulled over content with our choice for a place to begin. Not that it really mattered since we were the only ones here. Pouring ourselves from the confines of our vehicle the morning’s cool air and lack of others added a casual yet anxious pace to our readiness. Even though we saw no signs of aquatic life we tied on dry flies to our limp tippets, simply because we felt it was the appropriate way to fish this rare day.
Soon after entering the narrow streams cool waters our artificial flies drifted haplessly as if untethered initially undisturbed or attracting any noticeable interest. Several casts into the run a slow methodical rise from a brown trout interrupted the drift of my partners fly, his line soon tightening on the unassuming trout sending it to seek deeper water in hopes of some security from the resistance that pulled upon its body. For the trout’s size it put up an admirable fight before gently sliding into his net. We admired the trout’s butter rich color, plumb belly, and translucent pictorial fins before it quietly slipped back to the depths of the rivers emerald pool.
As the day wore on we each released several more trout before deciding it was time to head home; content with a day that exceeded expectations. We could have caught more, but to do so would have been in disregard for the uniqueness of this fragile resource. Even if we had, it would have not made a difference in the day, only diluting the experience, blurring individual trout to numbers, erasing the uniqueness or recollection of those that came before.
Posted by Steve Schmidt