On the river today. Clear but swift today, and it is rising. There’s a storm up north, but also a storm up stream does not make too much of a difference to this river because most of its flow is dictated by some powers who open and close the gates of a dam forty or so miles north of here. My home water is at the mercy of people who have no actual connection it.
I can feel it rise, this liquid, living, vital life I know as the Russian River. My strength stands against it’s push. My muscles hold, but in this water it is tiring to stand still. A Great Blue Heron flies past, and lands in a shallows upstream. To the side of me the debris caught in the small willow shows me that those shallows will be lost if a plentiful rain comes as it is supposed to do tomorrow. The debris is held a foot over my head.
My world is cold. In the water, thoug,h there is some insolation, the cold creeps into me. I have on 3mm neoprene waders, and the next time I come here I will use my 5mm waders. Overcast, the sky huddles over the tree tops, and squats on the water like a sodden blanket, but no rain yet.
I am thigh-deep in the water. There is sky reflected on the surface, yet I can see pebbles on the bottom. The river is deep and the current is rapid out in the channel. On the far bank, water grasses eddy upstream and there is an eddy where I stand that moves upstream. Both movements in direct contrast to the water’s flow. It is a little disconcerting, and unbalancing. I have sensations as if I am caught without gravity.
I had been working on music all morning. Going over play lists and songs I haven’t sung for too long. I forgot once familiar lines, and missed chord changes that just three months ago were second nature. Hard work. Frustrating. Tiring.
Yet, in this place, with wet, cold, fingers, standing against a disorienting current, I am energized. The river is now too fast for using a weighted, wet fly on floating line. It does not drop, but stays close to the surface. I have switched to a 150 grain, shooting wet line, and that pulls the fly deep. I shoot the line across the river and a little upstream, and close to the far bank. The fly sinks as it rides the current, and slides back across the river behind me. I cast again, and again, and again, and wham, a strike! Then slack. I miss.
My two hours for fishing are up, and I head back to my truck. There will be more of this. Soon.