By Dave Jensen
, Alberta, Canada
There is something about fall. Let's face it, the newness of the season is
long gone, our hope for something new or unexpected has waned. Those of
us still on the quiet, empty streams and lakes are more a different crowd,
tending to be the type out for a normal day of fishing than a few 'last casts'.
Those that have left are gone until early June or July next year. We're the
type that know winter is coming. We'll be here then too. We see the end of
dry fly fishing is near. Going, going, gone will be t-shirts and shorts, replaced
by layers of fleece, wool, and something to break those darned winds that
warm up the air so we can head out in January. The season doesn't end, it
just seems to dim a bit. Down to about 5 hours of fishing in January.
I finished our guiding season today. It was a tough day watching as my client
went 1 for 12 on the takes. Such is luck like that. The final take he missed. I
knew it was going to happen. I've seen it so many times. A tough day of luck
ends the way it usually does. Tough. He knew the fish was there. A good fish
for sure. A good cast and twitch. As it began to swing I watched as he bent
down to untangle the line from his feet. He looked down. As he did I said
out loud, "not now... please not now" I spoke to the fish. Of course the fish
hit. It was a good one. When you see a massive boil in the middle of a rapid,
it's a good fish. The boil was replaced by a "pop." Time to head in. It's not
arrogance here. It's "I'm on your team. I really wanted you to get on that
one. Better luck tomorrow." And there almost always is. You can't draw low
cards every day.
I think back to all of the moments of the spring, summer, and into the fall. So
many pleasant memories. So many fish. So many smiles. Very few stresses.
So little time at home. So much time thinking of snuggling up to Amelia as I
drag the raft up to the truck at 11:30pm. Time to get off the water. Time to
get home. Just enough time to get there, chow down, snuggle up a bit and
wake up at 5:30 to do it again. Such a warm, comforting feeling looking back
on those long days of May, June, and July. Rowing hard and holding water
for 3 hours during a heavy hatch. Aimlessly rowing in the hot sun as nothing
is happening. I now chuckle with a blank stare as I gaze at the back of my
eyes to my recent history. I float the bank of the river, tracing out the risers
still feeding there in my mind. Linder, your 23" male is feeding again today.
Yes, he's still beside the fence. Let's just drop anchor and sit and watch him
Fall has that different feel. Stand on that gravel bar. Take a good look
around. The air is chilled. The sun warms your back but up front your nose
is running. Wipe it on your sleeve when nobody's looking. "What the hell?"
you ask yourself out loud. There's nobody out here.
Hatch is light today. Might pick up around 2. Maybe. Which run do I want to
be at when it comes? Better start hoofing it then.
You notice that branch that you caught the riser from back in July is now 2
feet clear of water. Season changed. That bouldered, cobbled run is now a
shallow washboard. Didn't get too much water this year. Think I heard it's
supposed to snow a bit more this year. Hope so. But not too much. I want to
get out before July next year.
Guides have a tremendous life. We had the choice to make a little more
money doing something else just to spend it doing what we're doing anyway
or to cut bait and enjoy being there daily.
Yes, I sit here relaxed, contemplating heading out on the river. We worked
hard this summer. We saw a lot of fish. We saw the same fish over and over.
We were fortunate to meet a bunch of new folks from the world over. We're
hunkering in for a bit. Did I mention I was contemplating heading out to the
river? Moving a bit slower now.
Fall is a time to invite friends out. Haven't seen each other in a couple of
months. Sure we talk every week or so but being out on the river is
something completely different. Hate to see you go a day without a fish but,
man, it was good to be out here with you again. ~ Dave Jensen