Friday, June 18, 2010

The Story of Heartbreak Hill

I guess I'm a typical angler. Somewhat superstitious, prone to rituals and mostly full of shit!
With all of that in mind I want to tell you the story of "Heartbreak Hill"
Through my fishing life I have known more than one "Heartbreak Hill"
Let's see...there's the steep hill going down into Cedar Creek on the Sandy. Then there are a few spots on the Wilson that I should call "Cardiac Hill" because I swear I am going to have a coronary infarction hauling my over fed carcass up to the road after fishing at that spot and so I don't fish there anymore.
The one I'm talking about is really a slight incline going east bound on Highway 6, better known as the Wilson River highway. It's not a hill one must ascend on foot either.
The reason I call it "Heartbreak Hill" is mainly because of the frame of mind I am most times in as I travel home after a day of swing flies for steelhead on the north coast..get it? I'm heartbroken that I didn't hook anything.
It's not always a heartbreak though. If I have a particularly good day on the river, whether it be hooking a fish or two or maybe something like seeing a bald eagle up close or a nice herd of elk. This last Tuesday I travelled to the north coast in search of trout or steelhead. My first stop was at my former go to hole for big cutthroat trout. This spot has yielded many big trout for me over the years but since ODFW, in it's infinite stupidity, deemed that these wild trout are plentiful enough to kill a few my former honey hole is now occupied by plunkers! You can only imagine the horror and anger I felt last year as I was shown a cutthroat trout near 20" gutted and in some assholes ice chest.
It was on to another former go to spot that the trout just don't hang out in that much anymore. After doing my typical ritual of working this spot downstream I was rewarded with the unmistakable take of a coastal cutthroat trout. These trout are not nibblers or slurpers as some rainbows tend to be. They announce their presence firmly,aggressively and acrobatically after they are hooked.
I was pretty pleased with that and hoped that there were other trout present but there were not so on I moved to another nearby river.
I swung steelhead flies for a while with no success and I decided to move upriver to another favorite spot.
I got a very strong take on my first cast into a quick run but he didn't stick so I moved a bit upstream and after playing tag with this fish he finally committed and I played him until he did a long line release and went on his way. I fished my way down stream but had no other willing trout. Now I know many of you catch a lot more fish than me but in my advancing years I no longer feel the need to whip the water to a froth and put up big numbers. Those days are gone and I have my memories of fish long past.
These days a couple of quality encounters do me just fine and this day was no different.
As I travelled home I did not go up "Heartbreak Hill" this day. The day was a success all in all and this old angler was more than satisfied with what he took home from his day on the river.
I guess "Heartbreak Hill" rarely shows up much anymore. I cannot think of too many bad days I have had while fishing. Sometime it's just the little things that make a trip a success. If I find a nice agate or quartz then it's a great day indeed.
It's important to me to make sure a day does not end with a ride of"Heartbreak Hill" and I fish or don't fish in my own way to see to it that that happens.
I would think that some first time visitors to this blog thinking it's site full of fly fishing secrets..sorry to disappoint. I chose the title "The Quiet Pool" for a reason and after some refinement over the 4 years of it's existence it's about where I wanted it to be from the beginning.
And while I still do my rants at the mismanagement of ODFW I mostly just like to reflect.
Thanks for reading

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