Fishing the Big “D” (Deschutes)
I remember when I was young, still learning to fly fish, so desperately trying to become a competent angler, spending weekend after weekend camped alone along the banks of this river. I remember cooking breakfast along the waters edge, and pondering about a life that was mostly still in front of me, wondering what was the right path, and how to choose which route to take along life’s crazy journey. It’s always been moments like that when a real clarity sinks in. When I can look at something as objectively as I’ll ever be able to, and my subconscious is finally allowed to air its opinion as to the path I should follow.
It’s often this part of my mind, which allows me to make those decisions about my life, but also to strip away the fog in my mind, and bring situations to the stark reality that I need, so I know how to act.
I guess this is the only regret of the upcoming trip, knowing that the camaraderie of the day won’t allow for contemplative sitting under and alder on the bank, watching the stoneflies fly by like small sparrows, the swallows dipping and darting through the air catching their afternoon meal, feeling the cool breeze against my cheek, and hearing the gurgle of the stream as it ever burbles on towards a meeting with the ocean. I know they would find this eventuality strange, me sitting on a rock. Why I would need to do such a thing, not understanding I’m searching for something more than just another trout, not understanding that what I search for is hidden in the recesses of my mind.
It’s okay though, sometimes the act of just being with such good friends allows some of the same reflections. Maybe not exactly the same; maybe not the chance to finally strip away the gauze of subterfuge we each plague ourselves with, but I’ll still have those quiet moments alone, working up a bank rhythmically casting, stripping, looking for the elusive signs of a trout hidden below in his liquid world. Just these little moments can still help to find those glimpses into my soul to help me decipher what’s real, and what my course should be.
I hope the fish feel in friendly mood when we get there, but I also know their cooperation isn’t mandatory for a great day. I guess I don’t want them to be easy, and in fact I’ll search out those fish that are a bit tougher to catch, the ones snugged up under a tree in an eddy where it’s tough to get a good cast, much less a drag free drift, but catching a couple of these gorgeous fish would brighten my day considerably.
The Deschutes fish really are an amazing fish to look at, with their dark olive backs, crimson sides, rosy cheeks, and their amazingly large ink black spots, with the biggest eyes… I’m captivated by their looks each time I’m lucky enough to hold one for a moment. It’s in fact in the very moment of holding one of these magnificent creatures that I’m brought back to the very bedrock of why I fish… the chance to spend time outside in fantastically gorgeous places, catching something so wild and pure. It kind of defines the whole sport of angling for me.
It’s also the beauty of the settings, and the quietness of the world outside of our bustling metropolis that begins to settle my soul. I need these respites from the compact sprawl our urban communities have become, to help bring clarity to my life. I live for each of these opportunities.
“Yes, Mr. Fisher,” I replied, “I’d love to spend a day on the Big D chasing some rainbows with you!”