They don’t call it WINTER steelheading for nothing… Before the big warm rains and resulting river blowouts, I ran back over to the Olympic Peninsula for a couple days. Mostly it was a social occasion, to hang out with good friends Nate and Jeff, and stop in for another visit with JD. I went to school with Nate way back when, we’ve fished together all over the place, and now he lives in California. He’s also one of the people who first made me aware of, and encouraged me to participate in, fish conservation. So a chance to celebrate his birthday on the river wasn’t to be passed up.
The weather, though, had it’s say. Air temps stayed in the 30s, we had mixed rain and snow, the occasional white-out blizzard and some pretty sketchy driving. Water temps stayed low, and very few fish were being caught. Probably because there simply aren’t many around this year. I was lucky enough to hook one during a brief–and coincidental, I think–moment of sunshine (shortly after the picture above was taken), but otherwise we heard of little success. And a lot of the time, we were treated to a persistent, wet, mix of slushy snow and rain. Like this:
But numb fingers and slow fishing did little to dampen the enjoyment of time on the river with good friends. With all the politics around Olympic Peninsula wild steelhead now, and some pretty serious issues about their future survival, it was further incentive to participate in the challenge of saving them–if for nothing more than to have more days like these ahead.
One of the real gifts of having a book published, I am finding, is that it provides a path to hanging out with people I don’t get to see enough. In this case, author, fishing guide and good friend, John Larison. (If you’re a fan of fiction set in the Pacific Northwest like I am, I recommend Larison’s novels Northwest of Normal and Holding Lies.)
This week I hit the road to Corvallis, Oregon, for a couple of book events (more on that later) but I was really looking forward to some time with John. We had a wonderful dinner of bear and elk burgers, along with some smoked duck and goose breast I brought along for appetizers, at his house Tuesday night when I arrived in town. What a meal! Then the visit got even better–we spent Wednesday fishing.
With water temps in the low 30s, fishing was predictably slow. But it hardly mattered. We had brilliant sunshine on one of the rivers I fished as a kid, and plenty of time to talk about books, writing and fish. A perfect mix of conversation subjects and camaraderie, along with nostalgia for time spent here long ago. I can’t even begin to express how much I enjoyed the day. Thanks, John.
Then it was back to town and the treacherous, icy roads for two book events in one night…(to be continued)