When I get older
I think we all will remember this phrase from our younger days. When I get older I will have more time fish when I want. Now I am not that old, 27 to be exact, but I remember all to well saying this when I was in High School and busy with football. I would dedicate my summers, winters, and springs to training rather then fishing the various rivers around my home in Vancouver for my most beloved fish the steelhead. I still have only taken fish on the gear out of the East Fork and nothing out of the Kalama or Washougal. You have to put in your time and I never did. During college, at PLU in Tacoma, I thought I had to work so much in the summer time that I actually went one year with out going to my "home" river the North Umpqua. The school years were filled with time in class as an engineering major I thought I didn't have time to do anything else. I didn't realize had the Green, Sky, Sno, Stilly, Skagit, and Sauk all within 2 hours. I did manage to take my first winter steelhead on a fly during college on the Green but that would be the only winter fish I took in 4 years of school. Then I take a job with Microsoft, finally time to fish for my beloved silver sided bullets. We all know how that goes. There never is enough time with work to fish as much as you want. I haven't been blessed with a wife and family yet so I have that time commitment hopefully still ahead of me.
I get my time on the river now more then I ever have but it doesn't seem to matter, I always long for more. I get a day or two every month and more in the spring. I don't catch a ton of fish, but I get a few. My thoughts are always seemed filled with thoughts of the most magnificent fish that I can think of. Now we all know that fishing isn't all about catching. It is about getting on a river, feeling the river running around you, watching the bald eagles or the water ouzels do what they have done for years, it is about getting in a casting rhythm, it is about tying that next great fly, and it is about that all too familiar tug that comes when you least expect it.
Summer time always turns my thoughts to the summer silver flashes of the North Umpqua. This is my home river even though I live in the Seattle area. It is where I learned to fly fish for steelhead. It is where I caught my first fly caught steelhead in 1989. It is where my dad and I plan a trip every year. It is the river that my entire fishing calendar year is set. It is now June 20 something. The fish are 4 weeks away from being present in good numbers. It won't be long until they are holding in the Racks, or cable crossing, upper Clay creek. Then by the second week of August they are up in Swamp creek, Williams creek, Ledges, Rattlesnake, etc. My thoughts go something like this, "When is the next time I get to fish the Umpqua?" That is how time is measured to me.
When I get older never seems to come. I am learning to appreciate the time I do get to fish and go after my passion. Steelheading is truly and addiction that can't be explained. My friends don't understand why I love to fish when I don't catch fish all the time. Heck the summer in Seattle is tough on my I still haven't landed a fish on the Sno in two summers trying. That is my goal this year to hit a summer fish or two up here in this area.