Okay…its been 6 weeks since I guided last and almost that long since I fished. A neccessary evil…necessary but still evil.
The past 6 weeks have been much like the offseason winter months. As long as you don’t look outside that is. I wake up with the river. And I haven’t found myself fully awake because of the disconnect with the river. It is making me really cranky. Like a bear trapped in the post hibernation stupor…groggy, hangry…needs to poop. Just cranky.
The river comes alive this time of year. The trees grow their leaves, the cotton woods start to smell sweet, the birds flutter, sing, and chirp about the edges of the water. The otters and ducks, the beavers, the ravens, raptors, fucken deers, the bugs, and of course the trout.
I miss it. And this may make me out to sound like an asshat but its not the same as most. Its not just the river, its the guiding, the people, the gauntlet that is the Yakima, the crazy energy, the life it causes me to live. I miss the rythym, the schedule, the anticipation, the feeling when I get it right, and the feeling of defeat and perseverance through the suck. I live my life on that river. And not being able to be in its embrace….it really fucken sucks. Sorry I can’t think of a more eloquent way of stating my feelings.
I don’t have much in my life. That river is a lot of it. I have put over a decade of my adult life learning the craft of fly angling, fly tying, boat rowing, and business. Sunk the majority of my life’s earnings and monies into it. I am determined to make guiding my career until I literally can no longer physically fly fish. I have lost so much in the pursuit of fly fishing. I have also gained more than I could have ever hoped for. The river is a part of me. 6 weeks without a limb, or a part of your brain, or that deep physical, emotional, primal, natural, and psychological connection to the world of wild trout…it takes its toll. As so many fellow river rats, dirt bags, guides, and outdoorsy folk are feeling as we enter what may be our last week cut off from what we crave most.
It hurts anglers. It hurts my heart, my brain, even my body aches for the pull and push of the river current. I even had a cry about it the other day. Probably had too much herb, and I tied a really amazing set of march browns and realized I wasn’t gonna get to fish them this season. Had a little pandemic break down. Its allowed.
The financial worry is really not worth the stress. I can’t do shit about it. Qualifying for these loans is damn near impossible with my little business. I am in that boat of, if I can get back to work soon I should be good. But that leaves me and just about everyone else running that risk of infection. Just like our front line people, grocery clerks, drivers, and other currently essential workers have been risking this whole time. Its not fun to think about. And trying to figure out where that line is sucks. Its reminds me of the 2015 drought. Out of work for 6 weeks, getting back to it running that fine line of… not killing trout but trying to keep my fledging business afloat. Now its just…not killing people…I guess…okay that really fucken sucks. Honestly…I don’t wanna. That’s a shitty position to be put in on top of everything else. Preaching to the choir I know. And to everyone who has been still going to work. Sucks.
We shall see about guiding. But fishing at least, hopefully soon. It hurts anglers…thinking about all this stuff. I figured venting some would help a little. It does. But that’s what we are all processing right now. What things are going to look like moving forward. As an older millenial…I will be honest, I am exhausted. 9/11, Wars, financial crisis of 08, recession, school shootings, student loan debt crisis, healthcare crisis, climate crisis, and Pandemic crisis. I am exhausted. And would like things to be better on the other side of this for once. It would be nice to have some calm water around the next bend this trip.
There is some craziness out there that makes me feel otherwise. From drinking bleach, to blatent lies, to just doing a shit job across the board on all fronts on so many levels by too many of our leaders…its a cluster. This country went from melting pot to cluster fuck real quick.
When things do open back up. Please…I implore you…be smart. Be safe. Please please please be respectful and patient. And be nice to the communities that you visit when you recreate. We remember you. The Yakima River Communities are really close knit. And we have weathered the oast 6 weeks really well. As other counties deal with more cases. We are all anxious about things opening back up. Please please please be respectful and kind.
Things won’t be normal…not like they were after this. They can’t be. But hopefully fishing won’t change too much. I hope to see you riverside soon and maybe even in my boat.
Stay safe anglers.