I was near Dillion Mt - and in the distance one can see a hill (mountain?) side opened up for a mine. It revealed a roadside made of quartz and other wonders. Traveling further on I found twisted ancient deposits and garnets for which the Ruby Mountians are named. Amazing.
After a day with a guide, I figured out how to rig a dropper nymph - one so small there is no way I would think it would work -just a shiny wire with a small bead head - and caught a number of big trout in a pool. So exciting to see the flash of a trout taking the hook underwater!
I realized I was not in Washington anymore - needed to make big changes in tactics!
I also got the satisfaction of the smug response when this happened after I had crossed paths with a man who said he'd caught nothing up there.
Fishing is a time when I acknowledge that I am not different from the world, and that I am a part and parcel of the whole. I am not greater than the stones in the stream or the fish I hunt.
This part of the world, here in the Pacific Northwest, the Snoqualmie Valley, is amazing because it is so crowded with life. The environment is so welcoming - lots of water, enough sun, and not too cold in the winter. A strong contrast with the other side of the cascades where the ground is often bare between the trees.
The next day we take a drive over by Throp in Eastern Washington to a small creek that only sees a little sun in the winter - lying on the cool north side of the ridge.
I am grateful for so many things -the there where I have been in the past, and the there - where I trust that it all shall remain in the future, but mostly for the now where I am. - and here's the good part - the now is always.
Here I am at the young age of maybe 40ish... with a Jack in Florida. Why do I get a different reaction to this picture than the one below? What a nice tan, eh?
I am standing in the boat with my guide years ago and saying, I’m not one of those people who say I don’t care if I catch any fish or not, I just love being outdoors. I wanna catch fish. He laughs and replies - most of those people are lying.
How far can you cast? I am wondering about this.
The boat, tipped up by the power of the outboard, is flying over the water. The air, laced with spray, compacts at this speed – dense and cold even in the bright sun - hits my face and body. It’s a sensation you feel in your core. It’s been awhile. Now it's great to be on the Sound on an unseasonably warm day in Mid October.
A few days later I am back on the Snoqualmie, celebrating this long streak of warm weather. I can’t believe the beauty of this place. I feel very lucky and blessed to be here on this day in this wonderland.
Again, I am scrambling about on rocks.
Again, there’re not a lot of fish and they are small.
But it's October and I'm out on a weekday - and the place is blooming with fall color and light. And I get a few good days in before the rain.
A Buddhist sage tells me, in a Facebook ad, that the fundamental fact of being ungrounded – living with the fear that there is no actual firm ground beneath our feet – is something we have to learn to live with. For instance, even this strong sense of self we cling to is unstable – just look at photographs – was that me the same me I am now?
It works – a jump, a take, I react with the set - I have a fish – a big fish.
In the last weeks of August I went to the river a few times, however, we had smoke from forest fires to the north and east of us and after that some gloomy days - and then the water got very, very low. So they were slow days on the river. The deep pool below where I caught the dark fish once had a gigantic and ancient tree trunk in it that the fish circled about. It was a huge. But, one year it washed out. Over time the pool has changed shape a lot - but it persists.
Summer is a wave: it rises, crests and falls. Yet in my imagination it endures - endless days with 16 hours of sunlight. Yet those mid July Pacific Northwest days are few and precious - ushered in and out by lengthening and shortening days celebrating the rise and fall of summer greenery, flowers and trout fishing. Until suddenly it's cool and rainy - and summer is gone.
The first four pictures are from one trip - slow water and a few fish - from my fall back river. The deep pool below once held a huge stump. The last four picture are from another trip to a different spot - water was just too low. Still it provided good imagery for a painting. see the painting blog for more river (and other) paintings.
I first started fly fishing in NY state sometime around 1985 ... mostly I fish in the Snoqualmie Forks -- very small trout but very fun to catch and release. I'm pretty much a home river person - that being said I've had a few fishing adventures. Currently I'm trying some new places on both sides of the Cascades.