Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fresh trout cooked on a stick fire

The trout came to life late Sunday, with the first rise rings appearing about 8:45 p.m., just prior to sunset and darkness black as new Bibles.

I tied on the right fly, did a few false casts and then let her rip...right into a rhododendron 15 feet behind me.

It ripped the fly right off, and I was out of time. Say goodnight, Gracie.

On Monday the air was thick as waffle syrup, so I spent a good portion splashing knee-deep in the cool mountain water.

About 3 or 3:30 the fish turned on. That set right with my recent research ... the nearly full moon was at its maximum "under" around 4 and the good fishing should last until just before 6.

I began to nail 'em, one after the other, mostly little stocker rainbows with a lot of fight and wiggle. A couple liked to show off by leaping and leaping and in general scaring all the other trout with their meaningless acrobatic splashing.

I kept a couple. Banged 'em on the head with the butt of my knife, gutted and cleaned them out and wrapped them in wet grass before putting them in my vest pocket.

I surprised myself by hooking a large brown with one of those disgusted, half-angry retrieves after my dry fly had sunk.

Strip, strip...wham.

He ran to the other side of the river, then toward me, then he turned downstream and I knew he was going to break off.

I got him on the reel and was ready with the net, for a change, when he popped the hook.


I got the stick fire going with the Style section of the NY Times, popped a beer into the cool creek to chill and sat back while my trout - impaled with green sticks - cooked to perfection over a slow, smoky fire.

Just a little salt and pepper and...hey, wait a minute I forgot the Guiness in the water.

The little fire died down after a couple hours. I caught a wild rainbow while I waited for the others to cook, but I tossed him back. Another day, perhaps, I thought.

I felt the first drop on my hand as I polished off the last drops in the bottle.

Within 10 minutes I had loaded everything into the troutmobile and was scooting up the road over a carpet of sparkling hail.

It did not just rain...the faucet was left wide open.

Lightning flashed like overhead cameras.

I got home wet and smelling like fish.

Life is good.

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