On this day I am thinking of heading out to try and catch some bigger fish – there are sea run cut throats in the Snoqualmie. I have little experience with this kind of fishing but, I’ve been told to go to the golf course… there’s some places to wade there.
The golf course has tons of No Parking – No River Access – Violators will be Towed - signs – seeking to strike fear in hearts of the summer invaders who float the river. I accept that defeat and I drive down the road. I see a boat launch. It has a good beach.
It works – a jump, a take, I react with the set - I have a fish – a big fish.
I keep casting for a while, but the day is getting on and I feel content with my catch and thankful for this day. I am ready to go home.
The picture of him in the water comes out, but the one in my hand was not saved.
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 find myself in the middle of the river.
So, now - how to I get there to release him? Carefully. I made it and He was okay. Sometimes I end up holding my phone in my teeth after taking a photo so I can get the fish off the hook. Actually, I do that a lot.
I had decided to go back to the Taylor River.
But this time go upstream -- at least I could see what I was getting into. At least I thought so. The air was hot and still - the remains of recent forest fire smoke from Canada made it seem hushed.
The weird thing about walking on this collection of huge rocks is you begin to wonder just where the ground is -- there is no ground in the usual sense just this huge porous pile of boulders and bowling ball size rocks. I'm not really walking - it's balancing and moving forward by zigs and zags - like walking on a log over a river or a balance beam - only in all directions - there is no straight or even clear path. But, I can see where I want to be. I contemplate where to step, finding a likely spot. I move the right foot , re-balance - plant my hiking pole in a place that does not move - figure out where to put my left foot - move the rod into the right hand with the pole, use my left hand for stability on a large rock beside me - move my left foot, re-balance. And so it goes. It's an edgy way to travel.
None the less, there were lots of sizable (for this area of clear water) fish. The pace of getting place to place was snail time, but once I was in position - the fishing was rapid fire. There was a lot of first cast fish in deep pockets. wow.
A strange contrast in time occurs because what my mind holds on to and expands is the catching not the climbing. In my mental matrix I am off clock time and into experiential time. And, the catching, while brief, reverberates through me and expands... Creating tangible edges in time and I become a little unstuck.
The first four fish - I didn't land them.
me by the top of the bridge where you get in - low but wide water this time of year - pretty easy to get around.
I was casting across the river trying to reach across where it was wide - standing in fast moving but shallow water - as far out as I could wade comfortably - and it was actually a little farther than that - but still having to make long casts with the five weight across the current to get to the edges- near the far bank, under a tree, by a depression - getting just enough of a float -- and then, I had one - I felt the fish pull - I saw it get close - but pulling the line in - up river and across the wide fast water on the #16 barbless fly - each time, the fish set themselves free.
That's the point, though isn't it? I reassured myself - it is catch and release, after all... But did they count as caught? Is an idea unacted on still a worth while idea?
Yes, I think it is , but it's not the same as an idea realized. after walking upstream where the water was deeper and not as wide, I caught and landed four fish. They were holding in very fast water but they didn't have to be hauled across a wide expanse. Maybe that says something about insight and distance and realization.... I'll see what the river says next time.
Fishing in the Cascades - we're in the mountains - no really I mean it - and the Taylor River Kicks my ass
I'd seen someone walk downstream here last fall and I thought, oh, yeah - there is no doubt a magical place and all you have to do is follow the path downstream ...
The area kicks the fishes asses as well - they are not big, but they are tough competitors. It's seriously difficult place to make a living! This is not some gentle stream here - this is run off of snow pack over recently uplifted, glacially tumbled, and seismically jolted rock - water is literally running down steep drops in altitude.
I look at pictures of bigger fish, in nice smooth rivers - then I look at this place - and I think - yeah, I am in the Cascades. Fishing is about the figuring out your environment, being where you are and being there authentically. Hard to say just what I am seeking - but the path of looking is rewarding. in this treasure hunt the size of the prize is not the weight of the fish.
I am blessed to live here.
It's a long walk all the way down this river to where I can't get beyond - can't get beyond due to the fact it's usually late by now - and still a long way back to the car - and there are some pretty huge boulders that don't move one season to the next and that I'd have to climb around or over or go through the brush...
My experience is late afternoon to early evening is the best - and the wonderful thing about summers here are the extra long days.
And the best place to be on a hot afternoon is standing ankle deep in the river.
Also inspiration for a painting... see the painting blog here for the image
OK, some days fishing is perfect - it's late July, the water is low, the sun is hot (over 80) and the fish are jumping to grab flies on the surface just where you think they'll be... well most of the time.
Late in the afternoon - shadow self portrait.
One more thought -- As I was traveling - carefully downriver - It was thinking - this is a pretty convoluted walk and maybe just above my skill level now that I'm over 60. I end up thinking I simply need to keep going here as long as I can. Just keep moving - carefully. It seemed like I was 40 for twenty years and now, well, I'm not.
Also getting back to my car there were some sketchy guys hanging out by the bridge where I'd parked. They wanted to know where my fish were. I said - I put them back in the river. I didn't change out of my boots - just put the rod in the car, took off my vest and took off. Huh. There are times when it is odd to be just out in the wild world totally on my own. But … again, what if I stop going out or let stuff really bug me? There are times, I confess, I do not stop here due to creepy men in the area... oh well. I usually find another place to go. However, there are more and more people....
But I will say there are times when being an older babe in the woods feels right to me - and that is a feeling I want to keep. I'll keep dodging.
- Decided to try out my six weight -- just what was the Sage rod I got -- could it be 15 years ago -- like? It casts fine - it's pretty stiff compared to the 4 weight and the 5 weight -- but it's a six!! Maybe i'll update that one as well, but not just now. Need to let the bank account settle back from the recent purchase of the Winston 4 wt.
When I was shopping for the for the 4 weight, I said to Pete from the fly shop, 'Don't laugh at my casting." he replied, "you are so funny - you cast fine. I'd say about 80% of the people who buy rods can't cast at all!" then he slapped the line around to demonstrate. It was odd the Winston felt just right and the Sage rods, well, they had a Sage feel to them. I guess that's the point.
It's been cloudy and cool, but we had a bit of sun -but then, as soon as I got to the river clouds moved in. Everything is so different now on the middle fork. many more people now the road has been paved - and no parking signs everywhere.
I ended up with only one little fish, tired a lot of different flies and nymphs, and lost a few of my new flies. sigh. But the one I got was on one of the scuds I tired. I suppose I need to tie more since I lost the ones I made a few weeks ago.
However, up river things look different - not as flat - some spaces are being carved out. So that is good news.
When I first got here for about ten years - 96 - '07 there were great spaces on the river - it was like a path of different rooms, little pools and eddies and lots of fish. The winter floods that came the next few years flattened the entire river out so it's all flats and gravel bars. Much more difficult to find the little guy. sigh again.
I have been fishing a long time by myself. I don't know what other people fish like. I see lots of pictures on the internet -- but they are, I might add, mostly men and the occasional woman seem to be mostly models. sigh.
Still, when I'm on the river space and time seem to expand - maybe it's some kind of warp in the fabric of reality - or more likely perception. I love that experience - seems like all things are possible in any given moment and each given moment is expansive.
Of course when I get home I can't understand why I am not still on the river - why has that time flowed away? I want to go back there - where the stuff that bothers me most of the time just doesn't matter.
I was told a long time ago - They don't call it catching...
Wednesday June 27 - went out to try my new flies. A nibble or two. High water and overcast... huh.
Saturday I figured it was time to get a fancy rod - always have had the middle or basic ones - if not now - when? So now is the time. Got a new 4 weight for when the water gets low... it is pretty sweet - now I have to plot how to get back out ASAP.
I am not sure why tying flies is so compelling, but it will keep me up late at night...
On the dries I've tried to add some high-res yarn because I just can't see as well as I used to... sigh. Still I made some size 18's … so we'll see if I can get them on the line while I am actually on the water - and snag them on something and lose 'em. Now --- time to try them out and see if they work! I hope to be out ASAP - why are there so many tasks other than fishing?
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.