Mar 8, 2012

Snowmelt into the stream

It's been a dry winter and the Town of Mecan finally got a reasonable snowfall on Friday, maybe five inches of snowman snow. Deensie showed up right before whiteout conditions set in and we went out ice fishing for the final time of the season... We couldn't see the shore in any direction but I got a pike and Deen got a catfish so we had to celebrate the successful end of a successful campaign. Old-fashioneds all around! And that was the end of our winter.
The next morning we got up early for stream trout catch-and-release season opener. Deen's wife Stacey and my buddy Ryan joined us on my favorite stream up north of Puckaway and we stepped into the cold waters from snowy banks. The terrain was a frightening contrast of seasons. Trees heavy with snow drooped their branches into the deep bends, the sky and forest were light and the stream fast and dark. The air warmed and the snow slowly melted from this odd world. Upstream we snuck against gravity and clear current, zipping rapalas into small windows close to cover where montrous browns lay hiding:
Here it comes back to me just watch for the quick flashes that flood my eyes with adreneline, wait for the weight and the wiggling beautiful fish... There! There!

On Monday it was warmer still and me and Deen came back. The valley was a different place. Most of the snow was gone and the fantastic crisp white was replaced by infinite shades of brown. Even the stream seemed brown, full of the snowmelt and sediments. The trout didn't really mind though. Neither did we. It was good to get off the ice and chuck a lure around again.
I was so sore when we got back home, even my toes were shot from squishing through the muck and stumbling over grapefruit rocks, but it was a satisfying sore. In stream wading I had used every muscle on my frame quietly, against quiet resistance, the constant murmur of water rolling downhill. I felt like I feel after yoga in the morning. Tired but light. Like water resisting gravity. Bouncey.
How is it that burning fuel creates more energy? What would happen if I performed Warrior 3 in a set of rolling spring rapids? Yoga and trout fishing, two new things in my life, and how did I ever really appreciate springtime before? Awaking from deep sleep? The streams all swell and I stand there, quietly, breathing and watching the snow melt... I adjust my feet and exhale, find my target between two trees dipping into the current, factor in the wind and place my rapala an inch from the undercut bank. My breath catches for a split second before I turn the handle.
Flash! There! It all happens so quickly.

I can't blame the trout for feasting... If a lure were to land close to my cover I would snap hungrily, too. That is what we do.