Fall Fishing

By: Heather Strassel @ 3:14 AM

Fall is finally here! In Oregon, the days are noticeable shorter and the trees are starting to fire just on the tips. The cool nights and hot days are more telltale than the calendar that fall has arrived.

I like the fall. Things slow down a bit. Schedules normalize as school starts up again and the sun sets at a reasonable hour. We have more time to do those traditional summer things in the fall like camping and fishing and spending time outdoors. The weather stabilizes below 80; the garden beans slow production; the grass cutting rotation can move to every 10 days instead of every 6; the spring river rapids slow to a lazy glide; the tranquility of fall slowly overcomes everything.

Even the fishing experience this time of year is different. The stillness of the river mesmerizes. Except for the whizzing of my line flying though the air before it gently lands on the water, and an occasional acorn bouncing off branches before plunking into the water, the atmosphere remains mostly soundless. The afternoon air is warm, just perfect actually, and so noticeable unnoticeable in the way your skin can’t even feel its presence.
Peace rules… that is until you get a bite and the following few intense minutes of water splashing and flinging and your heart pounding in anticipation of the catch and your thoughts jarred quickly awake from their state of rest trying to recall whether you even remembered to bring the net this time and the dog barking in excitement all mess it up. But just a little. No worries; the disturbance is quickly absorbed in the canyon walls and tranquility breathes upon the water again. As the evening settles in, giant white gnats float the air and glow in the last rays of deep yellow sunlight. A fish breaks the dark green, soft water snatching one of the low flying bugs. I guess we all naturally slow down a bit to soak up the last remnants of the warmth and enjoy what the summer gave the earth this year.

Unfortunately, the Rogue in the fall is hardly as harmless. The warmth of the summer combines with the summer fertilizer run-off, and our Rogue slickens up considerably with moss and algae making it a veritable slip-in-slide. Really, studs this time of year are a must if you fish in rubber boots and want to keep off your backside. The warmer waters also soften the rubber soles ever so slightly which when paired with the slimy wading surface make a deadly duo. You just gotta have studs this time of year on the Rogue, but that isn’t a problem I worry about. (Please don’t tell the warehouse where today’s new stud kits went.)

Fall fish are bigger and smarter than summer fish. Carefully alluding hooks all summer, their bodies have put on the inches and pounds of which real fish stories are spun. Those summer survivors that team the rivers and lakes call my name. “Come on out! Bet you can’t catch me,” I can hear them say in a most mocking tone. Little do they know who they are challenging.

If you call me this weekend, I probably won’t pick up. (Fall river canyons really hate cell phone rings.) I’ll be gone… out soaking up the weather (& hopefully not the river).

Comments Off