April 1st and a lot are talking about the end and others are more optimistic. I tend to fall into the latter. The word out on the Alley is the run is basically over - that's if you need to see fish. Old sages like me know where to find them and the bounty can be plentiful. Perception can be a bitch to the lazy and ill informed. The weather over the past few weeks did throw everybody for a loop. The fish were way ahead of schedule and of course they wait for nobody. However, summer finally remembered it was here far too early and retreated. Fine by me as I want at a couple more weeks before calling it a season.
It was still twilight as I slowly walked through the woods. Turkeys announcing my presence as goobles echoed along the riverine forest. As it got lighter I could see the Grand was back to normal. She was running sweet, slow and inviting. The water was so cool as waded into the first spot and it was refreshing. My senses are all better considering I only slept four hours and the high- octane caffeine I consumed began to kick in. Maybe I feel like that because the end is coming near. Time is precious and I enjoy every minute of my time out.
The cool air is refreshing as I feel it rush into my lungs and I'm sure the fish are happy too. I finally reached my first destination. The river here splits into several channels and it's chock full of gravel. The fish prefer to spawn in the inner channel as the river funnels into a series of short rapids before spilling into a long lazy pool. Somewhere in the murky depths I hoped fish were resting and hiding. It turned only a few pods of fish were spawning in the channel.
Personally, gravel is for kids. I don't mind people fishing it because it opens a hell of a lot more water for me. I can confidently pull in late in the morning and walk by dozens of anglers working the beds and having every pool and hole for the pickings and glory. Dropbacks were the quarry today and like any quarry you seek, you need to know the habits of them. The rigors of spawning is hard to imagine. Racing many miles upstream and in some cases fighting a raging current. Once they reach their destination, the hens dig out gravel and fight the current. The males fighting among themselves for the prize of spawning. Once its all said and done, their bodies are ravaged - worn fins, sores and emaciated. They seek the shelter and comfort of the deeper and slow waters to rest and rejuvenate. Despite being in such poor condition they fight like they just enter the river. Acrobatic leaps and hard charging runs and of course they have an appetite to match their feistiness.
Dropbacks were found albeit I had to scour the river getting by on gumption and determination. As for the nay sayers calling the season over - fine with me.