Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Home Stretch
It snowed in Vancouver last night. Woke up this morning to about a centimeter of wet slush which will undoubtedly melt by noon. After one of the more mild winters on record here in the great Northwest, it came as a bit of a surprise. Guess it just goes to show you that winter is over when IT decides. Season so far has been about normal I suppose and we're really getting into the home stretch now. It happens every year, the anticipation of November, grinding cold, short days of December when low numbers of dour hatchery fish make for some of the toughest fishing of the year. January and February were more or less normal, although a lack of rain during some of that stretch made fishing pretty tough. Like most years there was a sweet little push of wild fish around mid-January that always inspires alot of excitement and hope for the season.
Now its March and even after sleeping in my truck for a week in late February I'm jonesing for more time on the water. March and April are so bittersweet. The best fishing of the year but so fleeting. In my first few years of steelheading I would invariably fish my butt off early in the season with limited success and by the end of March I was burned out. Last year was definitely the first "complete" season in my life as a steelheader, and it was a hard ride. Record low returns on the Big River meant alot of luck, and black magic went into every grab. This year, with the Big River closed for the season I've had to reformulate my plans for March and April. Despite grinding hard in late February camping in the truck in the hinterlands, I'm feeling refreshed, motivated and excited about the prospects here in the Lower Mainland. Might also sneak up to the Northcountry for a week or so at the end of April, that could be a life altering experience to be sure.
Well here it comes, ready or not we're already a third of the way through March. Salmonberries are blossomed and the steelhead are there, sitting in the soft current where the boulders and broken water provide refuge in the clear, cool water. March is the month of the steelhead here in the Northwest, its what we wait all year for. Better get out and soak it all in, it'll be gone before you know it.