With only a week left in our trout season, this past weekend was a perfect time to hit the river. The recent rain and cooler temps seemed likely to improve conditions and I was reasonably optimistic about our chances. Then again, it had been so long since I’d walked the river that I was just eager to get out there and enjoy myself.
Because our last few weekends have been rather busy with work and horse projects, Darrell and I decided the dogs had been a little neglected and were owed a fishing trip. While I love taking the dogs fishing, I also know that it can be a hassle if we head to a new area, such as we were doing on Sunday. Although we packed our fly fishing gear and waders, I knew I would have enough trouble keeping an eye on the dogs, Molly in particular, so I planned to use my spinning gear.
We decided to try a spot on the Credit River where Darrell had caught some decent brook trout before. The spot was completely new to me, but being the breathtaking Forks of The Credit area, I was more than happy to be heading there on a colorful fall day.
Driving through the pouring rain I began to wonder if we would get any fishing in. I’m not sure it would have mattered to the dogs at that point. Jack was happily sitting in the middle of the back seat and leaning forward to rest his head between our arms. There was no doubt he was content with just going for a car ride. My main worry was Molly – the carsick dog. She seemed to be handling the car ride, maybe even enjoying it, but it was going to be the longest trip we had taken her on and I was surprised when we arrived at the river with no need for a clean up.
After putting the dogs on their leashes, we grabbed our collapsible spinning rods – the perfect thing for a trip like this – and followed the trail to the water. There was a nice pool at our very first stop so while juggling leashes and untangling ourselves from the dogs, we chose our lures, followed the regulations by pinching the barbs and ensuring we had single-pointed hooks, and started casting.
For those of you whom enjoy fishing as much as I do, you know that overwhelming feeling of relief when you make your first cast in a couple of weeks. That was exactly what I felt on Sunday. It had been far too long since I had taken a cast, and it had been longer still since I had done so in a river. My whole body relaxed as I reeled that spinner through the water.
Unfortunately, the dogs do sometimes complicate things and that relaxation started disappearing all too quickly. Having two dogs on a leash was proving to be very difficult as they continued to tangle us up. Since Jack is not a wanderer, nor a swimmer, we let him loose and continued along the trail with Molly still attached. Molly has a lot of setter blood in her and that setter blood sure makes her wander. She also enjoys swimming and playing in the muck, things I was hoping to avoid on this chilly fall day.
Our next stop was at a beautiful pool that looked primed for brookies. The deep pool was surrounded by structure – logs and weeds, and looked like the ideal spot to find a hungry brook trout. I cast around the pool for some time with no bites and decided to move on.
While alternately taking casts and ordering Molly to stop walking between his legs and to get out of the mud, Darrell was able to tempt a few bites with his small white curly-tail grub. I was thinking of moving further down river when I heard, “Got you!”, and turned to find Darrell reeling in a lovely brookie. They really are spectacular looking fish and I took a moment to admire it.
We eventually moved on and a time I had been dreading finally happened. While I was tying on a tiny tube jig, Molly had apparently managed to wrap her leash around the rod that I had lowered to the ground. As usual, she had her nose to the ground and started wandering away, only this time she started taking my rod with her, including the jig that was now tied to the line but still in my hand. It happened so quickly but the end result was that I stood there looking at a tube jig hanging out of my finger, the hook in well past the barb that I was about to pinch. Thank goodness the leader had broken and I was no longer tangled with my demon dog.
I had often wondered how long I could avoid getting a hook into my skin. Now I had my answer. While cursing the dog – I know it wasn’t really her fault, I could have been more careful – I held my finger out to Darrell and asked him to get the hook out right away. I sure felt that hook coming out!
By that point, I decided to call it a day. I didn’t want to find myself getting angry when I was in such a wonderful place, so I told Darrell it was time to pack up and we headed back to the car, no one other than Jack was in a good mood.
We came across a well-maintained trail on the way home and I felt we should stop and take the dogs for a quick walk so we could end the day on a positive note. We had a nice stroll and got back to the car just as the sky opened for another deluge.
We drove home happier, but I was still nursing a sore finger, Darrell was still annoyed at having to cut short a fishing trip, Molly was still somewhat upset about being yelled at, and Jack…well, I think Jack was thrilled with the whole afternoon. He was positively grinning the rest of the way home.
Since trout close next Sunday, Darrell and I plan to head back to that spot on the Credit, this time with our fly fishing gear and without the dogs. Hopefully we’ll land some end of season brookies!