Amid the land and water, surronded by the ever changing beauty of the rivers flow we can feel the pull of the inevitable seasons. We do not, indeed cannot stop this indelible fact.
The steely cold winter is where we begin our annual journey in the life of am angler. The frigid mornings, frozen boots, numb fingers and hands test our will power.
But we are steelheaders plain and simple. It is the power of these lands, and their endemic fishes that pull us back time and time again. With the faintly burning hope that this, cold, harsh january day might be the except to the rule. The day that the bright but lethargic steelhead, resting easily in the soft, boulder filled tailout may turn, and take our fly.
Against all the odds our line comes tight.
and minutes later we gently cradle our quicksilver prize, and admire the space between silver light, and the color of their faintly tinged cheek. Their deep shoulders, winters trademarked design.
Winter weakens her grip gently at first. The nights glow less frigid, the afternoon sun warms our shoulders and hair as we stand in the chilly currents. Spring is the time of the steelhead, when spawning fish can no longer delay their return and sexual maturation.
As February drifts into march, the warming spring rains gradually increase the stream temperature, and the fish respond.
March is every steelheaders favorite month, not a time of bounty but a time of chances, when the fleeting tug becomes the violent, oceanic fish leaping from the emerald green currents.
Spring is sweet, full of regenerating growth, and bright, spawning wild winter steelhead.
summer is short, but the days are long and warm and fill us with sun and easy feeling to last the year.
Summer is when the little, acrobats with an almost childlike energy and a glimmer of rose on their cheeks enter the river en masse. when the waters are warm and the fish active, responsive to a small fly, a floating line, an anglers dream.
Summer is when many of us make pilgrimages to the hallowed waters of our predecessors, waking before dawn to wade quietly into the gentle summer flow and swim our favorite fly pattern.
Amid the simmering heat of summer we can always escape the heat in the shade of a beautiful river canyon.
Fall is poignant, full of the rich, earthy sweetness of decay.
Salmon enter our rivers in huge numbers to complete their spawning and eventually die, returning their energy to the river in which they were born.
Fall days are shorter, crisp and we savor each moment as though it will be the last we ever see of the changing leaves, or the long october light,
or the small, beautifully colored steelhead which so love to take flies from the surface.
As denziens of the river our fate is sealed. Like the waterouzel, or the coho salmon the season decides our fate, our experiences are defined by witnessing these changes. As for the many who choose a life sealed away from the brutal, rawness of natures expansive beauty...we pity them. And where the moutians meet the river we keep our flies swinging, no matter the season. Our love of wild anadromous fish and their riverine homes is enough to bring us back everytime.
Jerry French’s Summer Sculpin – Fly Tying Video
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