My fingers were almost numb inside gloves that had been left in the truck all night. Cold metal from the trailer hitch and scraping ice off the windows had quickly taken their toll. Feeling was slowly coming back as the defrost blasted. Headlights guided me through the darkness as I headed to the put in.
By 10 am I was back-rowing into an eddy across from the boat ramp. The sun was above the mountains and I took off my down coat before rigging up. The thermometer was headed to 60. There might not be another day in the 60’s for the next six months. They don’t happen often this time of year. Just getting out on the water was a treat.
The air was calm. Fish were quietly slurping on the surface. I’d heard there might be some bugs coming off, but what occurred caught me utterly off guard.
I don’t fish much in the fall. My focus switches almost entirely to hunting. It had been about a month since I last picked up a rod. But once on the water I was reminded why fall is considered by many to have the best fishing of the year.
Baetis blanketed the water. Despite being cloudless the hatch was strong all day. Small fish were feeding in droves. Larger fish could be found rising on occasion. Soaking up the sun, we targeted rising fish with tiny dries all day long.
The bliss of floating the river on a perfect day was a welcome reprieve from the burning quads and hard work that goes into chasing ungulates. The reward big game hunting offers for me is huge and it makes the effort worth it. But minute for minute fishing is just plain fun.