Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Minto Park

I called my fishing buddy, Steve, to see if he could free himself up to hit the North Santiam for a few hours with me. Maybe he was free, despite not being able to make the trek to the money hole, and it’s always nice to have company. He was a hundred miles from home, so nope. I packed up the rig and headed up the canyon to a spot I have always thought had potential but had yet to hook a fish.

The town we live near is considered the mouth of the canyon, although the actual river canyon starts up the road a good ten miles. Our town is merely the last chance for a real grocery store, reasonable gas and fast food restaurants before one heads into relative poverty and abandoned businesses that dot the roadside for the next 30 miles. The canyon is where you move for isolation or to avoid the Man.

Needless to say, DW is never thrilled with my excursions in this area. Truth be told, I am more afraid of running into a cougar than I am a meth head riverside. I only pack a knife, and even if it is sturdy and sharp, I would not have the focus of the cat. The tweaker, no problem. Perhaps the .32 calibre with hollow points would be wise. These are things I think about…

The path down to the Minto hole is very steep without many places to get a good footing. We had quite a bit of rain yesterday, so I was prepared for some mud, yet it wasn’t too bad. The canopy of firs had kept much of the trail dry. The path empties out onto a big rock, and then one picks one’s way down more rocks to the water. The water itself seemed high, yet when I commented about such to a passing boat, the occupant said I was mistaken. The color was good, so I began to think that perhaps the canyon received less rain than we. Still, the water was higher than it will be a month from now, the time I typically fish this area.
I loaded my hook with shrimp and worked the small rapids at the head of the hole, and floated my bait down along a ledge, trying different depths after several casts. No action. Another fisherman showed up and went right to the head of the hole and fished the bottom with salmon eggs. We were a sufficient distance from each other so our lines would not cross, nor could we hold a conversation. He caught a fish but did not bring it out of the water and released it. I saw a glint of silver, so I assumed it was a cut throat. He may not know that the regulations have changed for keeping those fish. Regardless, he handled the fish properly, wetting his hands before touching it. Hemingway taught me that courtesy.

I had coordinated time and place with DW, and we had agreed I would leave before sunset. I reluctantly left fishless, snapped some more pictures, climbed back up the ridge, felt a fast but regular pulse, and headed into the sunset and increasing degrees of civilization.

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

That's some beautiful country. Thanks for the pics.