I don't really know if I come to the river Blue today to fish or simply reflect. Perhaps I came to do a little of both.
None of us could have asked for a prettier morning. Wonderful temperatures, wonderful fall colors, a river that is desperately trying to clear, and close to near solitude on the water.
Upon arriving at Blue, I see a fly fisher standing on the crossing and I must go shake this man's hand. Ralph Fullenwinder is a sweetheart of a guy and a fine angler. He and his wife Charlotte will be camped in the "Rough Diamond" for a few days at Blue and they expect company in the coming days.
After visiting with Ralph I head downstream to the Riffles below the Island. Tying a bugger on I cast down and across the fast current at the Riffles allowing the current to capture the fly line and swing the fly. Trout slam a slingling bugger and I love that tug on the bug.
Shortly I move to the side of the Riffles deciding to highstick a seam. It wasn't long until I hear a sloshing behind me and upon turning there is the back of a large trout sticking out of shallow water. The trout looks to be struggling trying to get out of the shallows and then suddenly the fish bellies up. I spool up and go to the fish to try and revive him and once close he slowly spooks and goes to deeper water. Not seeing any injuries I am puzzled to what was making this creature sick.
Although the river is trying hard to clear, I still think it will be two or three days before we see a major improvement. More rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow and the rain, although badly needed, may add to the problem of clarity on this river. In additon to the off-color water there is the problem with leaves. Currently leaves are falling by the thousands and choking the river. If leaves were fish we all would have a banner day because right now our hook-point will find more leaves than fish.
I say I come here for fish and reflection. Fish I found and reflection I seek.
When it comes to the trout derby in November, there are things I enjoy and things I do not. I'm not particularly fond of the large crowds and competition for those good fishing spots. In the excitement of the event all courtesy and etiquette goes out the door, but, I can understand. People are excited about the possibility of catching large fish. The other thing I do not care for about the derby is that if you enter you have to keep trout. I don't like keeping trout.
There are things I do like about the derby however. I like seeing people that I usually don't get to see throughout the year. I like visiting campsites and sharing camp fires and usually there are plenty of opportunities to scarf-up on some good food.
The November trout derby is always a bittersweet moment for me.
The November trout derby always signals another defining moment in my life. Usually a day or so after the derby there is a date that impacted by life. On November 14th, my wife Susie passed from this life.
So today on November 14th, after fishing and reflecting, I go to the prairie schooner and take flowers to Susie.
My life is intertwined with this river.