Saturday, March 20, 2010

Washing Winter Away

Spring is on the way!!!! I know this because yesterday I removed this year's first tick.

There are, of course, other more pleasant clues that winter is finally slipping away. Tight buds are appearing everywhere, the daffodils and forsythia are blooming, and the redbuds, if you look at them just right, are beginning to assume that odd ruddy cast that foreshadows their spring magenta explosion. (I expect that back in "civilization" those mutant cherries and pears are riotous right now). But best of all, it’s warming up.

And that means it’s time to start checking out the local fishing holes. For the past few months, fishing has meant a trip to the mountains to chase trout, fish that don’t mind that’s it’s freezing outside. While I have thoroughly enjoyed these sojourns, I am excited by the prospect of resuming my ten minute treks to familiar waters.

My home Haw has had a rough winter, what with the loads of rain and unusual number of snow events we have endured this past season. The river has surpassed flood stage on 4 different occasions since Thanksgiving and has tickled the line 3 other times. It's still too high, but the promise of 70-degree weather drew Kahuna and me to it anyway, more out of curiosity than expectations of decent fishing. The white bass should be running soon and we wanted to get an idea of what we would be facing.

As expected, the river was a mess, high and cloudy with the odd flotsam of upstream life scattered about, but if you’re standing next to water with a rod in your hand you just have to fish. Kahuna and I waded the shallower areas, fished the murky holes we could manage, and between the two of us caught a couple of small largemouth bass and a handful of dull colored bluegill. It doesn’t sound like much, but the fact that we caught anything at all was encouraging.

More encouraging was the 52-degree water temperature and the presence of multitudes of tiny fish in the shallows - signs that life, and bigger fish, will soon be returning to these waters. I’m excited and ready for the vestiges of this winter, like the refuse from upstream, to be washed down the river for good - to be replaced by the joy and the promise that is spring.

Now if we could just do something about these ticks…

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