Two days ago I saw a break in my busy schedule. I realized that I could take my kiddo to school and then have all morning and into the afternoon if I wanted to for a day of fishing. I could squeeze a day or so more out of my fishing license and maybe even explore a new place or two that had been tipped to me.
Friday -"The tip and good weather"
My adventures in "the wrong place" was a pretty futile effort in the long run for actually catching fish. The water was clear and seasonably skinny. There were clearly pockets of fish-able water to be found. As I walked the mile or so downstream from the parking lot I tried to imagine what this place could provide in the spring. I tried to take mental notes of holes that would be good to visit another time. An optimist at heart, I was hopeful still for a little luck in finding a lazy brown hiding along a bank undercut. (BIG SIGH) Nope. Nothing. On now what amounts to a walk, I did see one other fisherman who felt compelled to tell me stories about 18" rainbows that he was pulling out of that stream in the early spring.
Sidebar: This is why I have mixed feelings about stream talk.
1. You don't know how much of the information (if any of it) to trust.
2. It sucks to hear that you are there at the wrong time but you make a mental note of it anyhow.
And 3. ...Dude, I came out here to fish. Thanks, and I am moving on.
"Frustrated but a doughnut will make you hopeful."
"Right place same results." (should have gotten a doughnut)
This time I got a very specific location thanks to our friends at Google maps. I dropped my son off at school, skipped the doughnut and had a coffee with me from home. I parked and checked my Google location and was definitely at the right place. I will be honest. This is not the usual place I would have thought to look for fishing. On the map it seems a little suburban but it is a nice little stretch of water and I could see potential going into it. It was one of those places where you see everyone unloading bikes and walking their dogs. It was a little closer to the city than I like...a place that probably only a few fisherman would fish without at least a touch of spite stuck in their craw.
It was as I said before, a suburban area. You could see apartment complexes in the distance. It was wintered over and ugly. Not a leaf in a skeleton of trees and not a sign of green anywhere. But the sun was shining and I decided to go into this with an open mind yet realistic expectation that there would be little if any life.
What I found was exactly the kind of stream features that the friend had described. I could imagine the water with more cover of leafed our trees, growing grasses and raised waters. The pools were obvious and you got a sense of where the water levels had been at one time. The canopy was actually not bad for tenkara at all and even as I hopelessly went through the motions of casting to the pools and cascades of white bubbles I knew I could see myself back here again in just a few months.
Thoughts on dormant waters
Dormant waters should be expected. Fish are subject to seasonal changes, water levels and predators. They do what they must to survive the winter season. This makes me wonder where they actually do go of course but at the same time, that is a secret that is perhaps best unknown. Well, I still want to understand it better.
As I reflect on this and project the idea onto my own relationship with the season, I see that I need to perhaps have my own places that I escape away to during the winter. Places that I will be in solitude and remain unmolested by others. This gives the world I live in during the spring a little time to flow without me directly in it or struggling to survive in a less than optimal environment. Winter is a time for slumber and reflection. Certainly it is a time for planning and thinking about the future seasons ahead as well. Eat doughnuts, look at maps, tie flies etc.
Perhaps this whole blog post is really about me reminding myself that we need these slow, unproductive times for introspection. They can act as a comparison for us in the more productive and busy times. Maybe make us appreciate the more bountiful seasons. I wish that the rest of our society was perhaps more seasonally affected.
Arguably it probably is but is ignorant to its effects. It seems every January that we are supposed to be "out of the gates" rushing towards some goal. Well this guy is going to take a cue from the groundhog and slip back into my hole only coming out occasionally if the sun is shining. I won't be fooled by the false promise of early spring. When I do emerge though I will be ready and focused. See you in the spring. I'll bring the doughnuts.