Friday, September 14, 2007

Anyone For Nude Fishing?

North Fork Skykomish above Garrand Mineral Springs

I see a lot of people hiking the floodplain of the Skykomish River with full fishing regalia. Meeting them on the outbound leg, I always ask if they caught anything . . . and the answers have always been a negative. Makes me wonder what is it they see in spending hours fishing only to leave with nothing to show.

I'm not a fisherman by anyone's stretch of the imagination. I know next to nothing about the sport. So I was quite surprised while heading past a deep river basin area along the river when something caught my eye in the quiet, protected waters of that pool aside from the fast water of the river. Fish . . . and large ones. So I sat on a large boulder and just watched them . . . the fish nervous and cautious . . . obviously aware of me above even though I wasn't casting a shadow or moving.

Fascinating. Salmon, I'm pretty sure, with a hump behind the head that means something but I'm not sure just what. Must have been a dozen or so salmon a foot to foot and a half in length, seemingly stuck there . . . some making for an a mad dash toward incoming stream and just not able to wriggle half-in and half-out of the water into that tributary. Several others kept coming back to the same spot . . . just beneath the boulder I sat on . . . and circled down deep. Have I seen the miracle of the laying of eggs and the end of the salmon's life-cycle?

Nearby, an obviously dead salmon floats near the bottom of the pool. Eyes still clear; no marks on a perfect body. On the sandy shore there are tracks. Large tracks that in hindsight I realize belong to a bear. Reluctantly, I leave the salmon to their fate and the start of a new cycle. Time to be moving before that bear comes back looking for an easy meal and finds me instead.

Related Posts with Thumbnails