A couple of years ago while fishing on our critically acclaimed, rainsoaked coast over the weekend I was feeling pretty crowded. On this February holiday weekend the crowds of people trying to squeeze in and get their last little sliver of the wild steelhead pie in our state can be down right unbearable. Now I'm all for sharing, and I know tourism brings lots of money to the tiny, depressed communities on the coast but shit boys...how many Montucky and Cali plates can a guy see before he starts gettin twitchy and looses his shit.
Anyway I was already gettin my panties in a bundle over all these carpet baggin' knobs flailing around in my favorite pools when I encountered a majestic sight. A brand new, 2000 whatever Chevrolet SUV covered in steely, naval cammo, complete with matching raft on top. Emblazoned on the side, was a 6 foot long Simms logo. Must've been the Chevy ToolKit edition or something like that. At that point I was so sick of the marketing, branding, bull$hit with our wild anadromous fisheries I couldnt stand it, packed the rig and drove straight home. no stops. Fellas, the fish are going away and you're so busy trying to sell your brand of bobber stank you're missing the point. Meanwhile there are 150 newbs from california and montana just itching to have their "steelhead dreams" satisfied. Its enough to make a man crazy.
People are entitled to recreational experiences on their terms, and as long as they carefully release their wild fish, slaughter their hatchery fish, and don't lowhole me they're probably decent human beings. but after 3 days of fishing in a crowd it can be pretty difficult to bear. not sure what the point of that story was but its just some stuff I been thinking on lately. With more and more of our rivers closing early to protect wild fish things are getting pretty bleak on what just 20 years ago were considered remote, little fished rivers.
Still, occasionally things turn out just right. That Tuesday after a nice freshet when the fish are pushing in. A few have gotten past the nets and lying comfortable in the green, boulder studded pool. The 25 minute shit fight through deadfall and the damn near verticle crawl down into the canyon water is all worth it when the fish lights you up. Nothing like a chrome wild fish when its just you, the steelhead hound and the river.
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