Late Night with a Fly Fisherman
When I got to the creek, in early evening, I found it low and clear. I was hoping for a shower or two, as they predicted, to distort the water surface but there wasn’t much sign of rain to come.
As I get my gear on birds chirp and the sound of chipmunks reverberate through the valley as if muffled inside their dens. The autumn forest foliage is bright like an artists painting trying to capture a pleasant mood on canvas. The nearer I get to the creek I hear the soft sound of the riffling water over rocks in the shallows. I stop abruptly as I hear a grouse flush sounding like the fluttering of a well used deck of cards being shuffled. On the slower, shaded, pools of water the reflection of the trees lay upon the surface like a colorless mirror image. I look over the water and tie on a weighted Caddisfly nymph. The water is shallow enough and running slow in most areas that extra weight won’t be needed.
My roll casts are calculated and gradual up and across stream trying not to disturb the water. My mends are brief and the rod is fluid like a passing of a twig in a breeze. The takes are quick and sharp from beneath and my hook sets are more instinctive from experience than questionable. Rainbows rise, air-born, on the surprised resistance and return with a sloppy splash from the gravitational pull.
Today the trout are more huddled closely within the deeper sections and runs for fear of being seen by predators in the clearer shallower water. I catch trout in bunches after long sections of nothingness. Though one fights out of the pod, I’ll still hook another as long as I’m not seen. This requires long casts or drifts and ease of movement.
As light fades I’m tempted by one more bend, one fishier looking seam, or one more turbulent rush of water against a deadfall. A slow pool swirling around an uproot or a dark undercut beneath bank-side lined brush keeps me fishing on. Curiosity heightens as another trout comes to hand in the last temptation.
Eventually all good things come to an end for lack of light. I walk the trail back to my waiting van. An ice chilled beer quenches my thirst from the few hours in the fresh mountain air. I change clothes while darkness falls as sounds about the forest are not confirmed as to the cause.
The headlights brighten the way in the pitch blackness of night like a bright flashlight through a dark cavern. Derricks appear occasionally along the dirt road resembling robotic dragons guarding a haunted path in a science fiction movie. Weathered signs point to notable trails for the venturer.