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Ronan's report


Wednesday 25th November, 2009

Eastern Oregon. Some Sunday in the spring of 2008. Too windy to fish. A couple of fleeting shots (is it a rock or a fish?) were all we could muster before the gale got too strong, pushing up huge rollers and driving spray high into the air where the waves met the rocky shore.

The long drive home took us over one of my favorite rivers, flowing high and green with runoff. The shining sun and the green hillsides were enough to lure us up into the canyon.

It was there that we found the day's salvation.

Here, in the Autumn, salvation is a flawless native steelhead risen on a small wet fly. It is the golden lightshows of dawn and dusk, reflected and projected off of the canyon walls and onto the surface of the river.

Over two months will pass before the steelhead return to the canyon in fishable numbers. No golden light shows today either. The canyon is still green from the spring rains. Today's salvation is over two dozen species of birds. A bald eagle in a dogfight with two gulls. A great blue heron, a few quail, ravens, doves, mallards, mergansers, and nuthatches. Swallows darting over the river to snatch hatching midges. A chorus of songbirds in every color. A brilliant western tannager steals the show with it's bright yellow and red plumage. As a bonus, a blanket of wildflowers spring from the ashes of last years fire.

In the canyon, salvation takes on many forms.

The truth is, most of us are just visitors here in the canyon. The steelhead of Autumn pass upstream on their way to spawn. Many of the songbirds, here to nest briefly, will be gone by the time the steelhead arrive. The flowers will dry up when the spring rains are replaced by the blazing summer sun and heat. Even the water is a visitor in the canyon, never making more than one quick pass through each riffle, run, and pool.

Fish On,
Matt

PS - Happy Thanksgiving. Even when times are trying, I'm sure we all have many things to be thankful for.


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