Its been weeks since I felt the river tug at my legs while I walk the riffles. Its been weeks since birdsong, the smell of sweet cottonwoods, and bugs fluttering in my face. Its been weeks since I felt the thrash of a wild trout and the feeling of the release as it explodes away back to the depths.
For many the connection to the outdoors and in my case and others the river, is basically a necessity. The river has become a part of who I am. I am lost without it. Quarantine has been strange. Much like the offseason slump. But the weird sleeping, lack of routine, schedule, not having the river to guide me…its been…well it hasn’t been great. Neccessary but not great.
I was reluctant to fish right away. Almost as if the stay at home at taken away my drive to fish. It took the morning of me going out for that feeling to leave. My timing has been fucked since quarantine. I have lost track of the day and time multiple times. When I woke I thought it was later but I was on river and floating by 9:30 and I literally thought it was 11. I was so excited to get riverside I lost track of what time it was.
I spent 9 hrs on the river that day. I sat and watched the river. Felt the current move the boat. I played in the flow moving the boat just to move the boat. Not for fish just to feel the river. I met fish only got to tickle one but they were eager to eat flies and test my skills. Challenging and persnickety as always these trout are always consistent in that regard.
I have missed the challenge. Its like riding a bike, it comes back quick. Already my mind has switched back over to trout. I am reading water in my head again, seeing drift lines, approaches, angles. I am already feeling that connection, listening to what the river is saying. Its like not seeing a close friend for a while and everything that has happened since then just comes flowing out.
The river is home. I have never felt more at home than when in my boat in the river. To not have that gor this times has been internally hard. I had plenty of down days because of it. I am cautiously optimistic as we move through this pandemic. Even if I am unable to work when planned at least I can be home again. And if it all goes to shit…I would rather be riverside anyway.
I get the next 2 weeks to settle back into that river life. The drive to chase trout has resurfaced. Stay safe out there and I hope to see you riverside soon.