My side of the mountain

Sometime around the time the shooting started, I realized I lost my net. Everything happened so fast and my only thoughts were around trying to avoid getting shot, not picking up all my gear. 

As intense as that was in the moment, it passed quickly. A few blasts from my air horn announced my presence and that was it. The canyon went quiet again, with the running water and the calls of a Pacific Flycatcher breaking the silence, until the thunder started hours later. 

I’d been planning this walk in some form or another for a few years now. My goal was (and always is) to find some of the lesser-fished pools on a system that gets a fair amount of pressure. I’d realized that if I wanted to do that, I’d have to walk around the mountain as far as I could and work my way back to my usual spots.

The biggest challenge, as always, was figuring out access. The obvious way was to simply walk downriver to the spot I wanted to start at. But, the more I looked at the map, the more it seemed like I could walk around the mountain and drop in from there. I’d unsuccessfully tried hiking around a couple of times already. The first time I’d been chased away by a bear once. The second I wasn’t feeling good about the path I was taking. All I could see were cliff faces and canyon walls. Not wanting to burn through all my fishing time, I’d turned around and gone in the usual way. 

As I approached the usual way this time, I decided not to risk it. I didn’t want to deal with a bear (or walk up to nothing but cliffs). I dropped down and started walking through the creek.

I walked quite a ways downstream before I even set up my rod. I wanted to avoid covering the same, familiar territory. My mission was unknown waters. 

From the moment I started fishing, however, I was catching fish. The fish in this creek are one of the few things I can count on. Most of the year, once the runoff is down, every fish in the creek is eager to gulp up just about any fly you throw at it. They have preferences, but they’re not picky. 

Keeping with the theme of the unknown, I fished my way downstream with a stream (a smaller wooly bugger). I wanted to explore the depths a little more than usual. I wanted to make sure any of the legendary large brook trout that supposedly haunted these waters had as much motivation as possible. 

And that’s how it went. I made my way downstream one deep pool at a time (stopping, of course, for anything that looked even remotely fishy). Each time I stopped, I pulled two or three fish from the pool. A recent conversation about fishing had me thinking that less is more when it came to casting. It influenced how I approached the stream and how much time I spent in each spot. 

I didn’t quite reach my destination. I stopped maybe a hundred meters away, max, but I was close enough to be happy with where I stopped. All the way down I’d found nothing but beautiful stretches of river. Every time I went around the corner, I found a spot that had me yelling excitedly to myself about how beautiful it was. There were spots worthy of a pause and a cup of coffee. Spots filled with small, energetic fish that went after everything. Nothing huge. None of the rumoured monsters that were said to live in the area. But that didn’t matter. It was the perfect way to spend the day, even with the shooting.

But I couldn’t help feeling a little sad as I made my way back upstream. The net I’d lost was my favourite net. The perfect little small stream net, ideal for scoping up small rainbows (and surprisingly large brookies). I’d bought it for dirt cheap a few years back and had taken the time to restore it. I kept my eyes peeled the whole way back. Stopping to throw a few casts, then scanning the riverbank and surrounding forest trying to figure out exactly where I’d been when I’d dropped the net. My heart sank as I passed the last spot I could remember seeing. It wasn’t there. 

I moped my way back upstream, sadder than expected by the loss of the net, until I saw it sitting there on the rocks. It was almost exactly where I’d been standing when the shooting started. I scooped up the net and put a few more fish in the basket before calling it a day (right around the time the thunder started). 

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  1. What a great description of your wonderful area and fishing..I would just like to sit there and listen to the babbling brook❤️ Great read, Doug!

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