Saturday, March 19, 2011

Which Way Would You Go?


It changes at the old three-turbine power station.

Upstream there are miles of hard-ass rock hopping and wild browns. Downstream there are miles of easy roadside access and stocked whatever. Upstream there’s steep, skinny water and fish that flee at shadows. Downstream there’s wide, flat riffles and pods accustomed to pellets. Upstream the trout are as small as their habitat, and smart. Downstream they’re as fat and dumb as the day they poured out of the truck.

Now, I don’t mean to denigrate fishing for stocked trout. Lord knows, I do it often enough myself. But if you had the choice, if you had the chance, to chase the wild ones, would you? Would you if you had to sweat bullets and bang your knees to do it? Would you if, instead, you could catch eight, ten, a dozen stockers for every wild fish netted – that is, if you netted any wild fish at all? Would you if you knew with absolute, unconditional certainty that you'd get back to the car bruised and bloodied and spent?

It changes at the old three-turbine power station.

Upstream it’s lonely and it's wild and it's hard. Downstream, it’s not.

Which way would you go?

15 comments:

AZWanderings said...

Up. For me, walking up and into some of the wilder more difficult water usually weeds out alot of the idiots. Like you I will fish for the stocked stuff if I have to, but how sweet it is to cradle a beautiful wild brown trout. Yeah...I would hop, fall, sweat, curse and try to fish my way up. Good post/prompt.

Ben

troutrageous1 said...

Depends how desperate I was for a good tug (that sounded bad, didn't it?).

I haven't caught a fish since New Year's Day, so I'd likely head downstream on a quest for pelletheads just to reaffirm my faith in fishing. However, on a normal day, when my fish-to-hand equilibrium was more level, I'd prepare my knees to take a beating.

Cofisher said...

I'm with Mike. I need to knock some rust off and get the touch back. Then watch out body you're in for a bruisin'.

Ken G said...

Chase the wild ones till you can't do it anymore. Your knees will tell you when that is. Then be content to just be out fishing.

Flyfishermanrichard. said...

Yes me too. I find I need to get my casting in shape after a season off.

I would go upstream and after some time, when I found I was "no longer thinking about my casting" and that wonderful synergy had returned?

Mike said...

Very interesting commentary.

Ben, a young man like you will always be looking upstream, and should. Shows your character and your strength. Keep it going.

Mike, Howard, Richard, I forget what real winter does to a fisherman. Here in the south there's always somewhere to fish and knocking the rust off is not usually necessary. But I understand, and sympathize.

Ken, your response hits closest to home. My days of moving upstream are getting shorter and I must get that fixed in my head. The tone of my post shows that I have a long way to go. Getting old is a contact sport and I've avoided playing as long as I can. But the game calls.

You are very wise men, all. My sincere thanks for the thought-provoking comments.

Jeff said...

If I'm hungover-down. If not-upstream!

Mike said...

Now THAT's hard to argue with, Jeff.

THE RIVER DAMSEL said...

I'm always ready to go against the "norm"...One cast for the "fat and dumb"!! Incoming!!! :) It's all good...

Darrin said...

Home sweet home!! I wish I had a nickel from every time I passed that powerhouse!

Mike said...

Damsel, not so against the norm, it would seem. And it's certainly all good!

Your home waters, Darrin? Sweet indeed. My first time. To be sure, not my last. And if you passed the powerhouse, you were headed UPstream. Cool.

Clif said...

I'm pretty sure I'd fish right in front of that power house.

My captcha word is "wateredi." Very fitting.

Mike said...

Funny you should say that, Clif. As we walked out, there was a spin fisherman exactly there - with a stringer full. Seems the local Department of Game and Inland Fisheries truck had earlier spewed it's load there and the harvest was on.

Another difference between upstream, and down.

Darrin said...

I grew up about 5 miles from that spot. During my high school days, you could still camp above the powerhouse and we would spend 3 or 4 days at a time up in the gorge. That was back before I new just how much fun I was having!

Mark Clements said...

When I used to fish there (I know where it is!), I always went upstream...the further you go, the more enchanting it becomes.

M