Smiling at this blessing, this life is the best...

Consider this my (belated) Thanksgiving. I won't even try to express how lucky I am to have the family, friends, job, ability to explore and enjoy my passions, and of course, woman who's company, I enjoy so much. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the day we reflect on our blessings, but I can tell you I count them every day. Top it all off with the fact that I was able to steal 3 days to myself (yes, I cherish solitude as well) to hit the Salmon River, and I feel guilty to complain about anything.

This is my hour, I’m never going to bed.
The sky is still black, but begs to be red.
I just put my book down, but it begs to be read
I’m not nod, I’m not napper, never rest my head.
Some days I feel I’m getting smaller and smaller,
but some nights, I seem to grow taller and taller.
And we keep shrinkin’ and shrinkin’ but this will not finish.
You’re never nothing, if you didn’t disappear.
Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they change it.
Just when I’m loving life, it seems to start raining.
I pulled the sail safe switch, sea sail and I’m into the stars.
I love the rain on my scars.
The sky’s now red, my eyes reflect jets.
Smiling at this blessing, this life is the best.

Made it to Pulaski around 2 am Friday. Grabbed a few z's in the truck before hitting the tackle shop and then the river. For most of 3 hours, I was the only one in the "prime" spot, but never so much as hooked-up. Managed to lose 3 steelhead and land "2" (more on that later) browns. As it turned out, I wouldn't even get that close to steel again all weekend, but who can complain? A trout is a trout...right?

Day 2 was a little more successful (if you can call it that). I didn't fish the whole day, sleep was calling me. Things started very slow, of course...and cold...

I want to notice chances I’ve passed without notice
I want to see details previously veiled.

I want to grab that chance, carry it home
so I can marry and know-

-That I noticed every chance
that I could have passed without notice
I saw details that to all were veiled.
And I grabbed those chances, carried them home
and then I’ll have had it with roaming

Though it turned out swinging would be the producer this weekend (peach egg-sucking purple bunny leech), the third fish landed was taken on a blue-and-orange estaz egg in a back-eddy. A little snakey and beaten, but a welcome reprieve from the long, frustrating, cold periods of monotony. As with most of the fish for the weekend, this one was between 18 and 20 inches.

I want to speak every cliche but tweak if i’ve seen change
in new way it could be said.

Fished the section of runs, pools and eddys hard with the eggs for a good long time before trying out the leech. I can't say it was at all expected when I went to loose my line from an assumed snag and found this stunning, if modestly sized, specimen struggling to free itself from the hook.

If it’s bleak, or if the week’s leaking down the street
or if any days wasted I want to face facts.
My time on this earth is my only penny,
wise is the gent counting every moment spent.
I don’t want to explain things, don’t wanna fill in the gaps,
I want to look at my friends and in that minute be at …

I wanted to swing through the full run one more time before picking up for hopefully greener pastures, but when I got to the head, the friendly spinner with whom I had chatted earlier (and helped net and release-with expediency-a foulhooked steelie) was occupying it, and another had drifted down and set up shop above. I weighed my options, and considered the hour, and decided to check out the access on the other side of the river.

After examining the main channel thoroughly with my fly, I focused on the base of the cliff along the side channel behind a small island. I got lucky. The fight was tenacious. After netting this jewel, a flawless 2 foot long muscle football that, luckily, was very well hooked, knowing it wouldn't likely be beat, and in desperate need of sleep, I headed back to the motel for an afternoon respite.

If spit like luck, you can only seem,
to borrow it, you can’t keep it.
When the wind of change whistles into play
will I blink or flinch away?
The wind of change won’t whistle me away
if I spin my tails and sail.
And sail away, let yesterday become today.

Sunday was very trying. Firstly, I made the "mistake" of accessing a favorite hole from the nearest downstream parking area. Lets just say the walk upstream is significantly longer and more technical than the walk downstream from the upstream access. Still, a solitary walk in the silent winter woods is hard to spite, even when drenched in sweat.

After burning nearly an hour just getting there and over an hour more fishing it hard with eggs and streamers to no avail, I burnt the next few hours swinging my way back towards my chosen entry with the only action I saw being from rocks and trees, both submerged and on the banks.

I arrived back at the truck, exhausted and disheartened, with 2 hours of fishing time left. Disappointed, I had promised my sister if a suitable candidate made itself available I would bring her a small salmonid feast, and knew that I had abandoned my best shot at doing so by leaving Saturday's "sugar" hole for barren lands. There was only one solution; speed the quick drive back to where I knew there were fish, and see if they were still willing.

Sunday's only fish once again came on the leech with an amazingly unaggressive strike. She must have been confused, because with all the jumps and tail-walking, she had almost convinced me she was a small steelie.

I was almost thankful to see she had been pretty severely marred by a lamprey right between the gills; it made dispatching her feel that much less barbaric.

I came to this world with nothing
and i leave with nothing but love
everything else is just borrowed
As time will say, nothing but
I told you so

I did briefly hook one more fish before the day ended. This one would have been returned if landed (I feel guilty enough taking 1 fish, there would be no reason to take another today), but I never got the chance. The 3-day outing ended perfectly, satisfied with well-earned success, in the midst of a snow squall heavy enough to make it near impossible to follow the line with my eyes. It wasn't a banner weekend catching-wise, but it was stellar for the experience.

Memories are times we borrow
for spending tomorrow.

So that's my story for the weekend, barring an interesting episode (no, not the one where the guy in the raft almost ran me over 5' from shore, then proceeded to anchor 50' downstream from me for 15 minutes before pulling up and rowing circles over the prime hole that I was dying to fish before finally, and thankfully, passing out of my sight to harass someone else); as I mentioned above, on day 1, near the end of the day, I finally landed my first...

look closlier...

...and shortly thereafter, second...

look more closlier...
Notice anything weird? Yup, same fish. I couldn't believe it either.
Who ever said brown trout are smart? In his (her?) defense, the first fly it took was a blue-and-orange estaz, and the second, as you can see, was a completely different blue-and-pink estaz.
Once again, who am I to complain?


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