I was wisely counseled not to start my 2007 fall season where I eventually foolishly went anyway. What is it with rash individuals that they must always be so stubborn? Anyway, it was off to Steelhead Alley that I went, with Richard in tow and very much in the game, last Saturday morning.
We arrived at our destination in good time, and early. But what met our eyes, as the sun rose, was not a river but what now looked more like a series of stagnant meres connected by dust-choked rivulets... It seems that the southern shore of Lake Erie, known for its temperamental, spate-driven rivers has been very hard hit by this summer's drought, and water levels are nowhere near what they should be. Later in the day, we would meet a gaggle of pennsylvania steelheaders, looking for all the world like shipwreck victims washed up on barren shores. They had a forlorn, regretful set to their shoulders, doubtful of their chrome fortune.
Anyway, despite the conditions that first met us in the morning, we bravely set bait to hook, and it is our good fortune that a number of fine specimens had indeed braved the unnaturally low water levels and were present to accept our offerings. But our luck would not last, as it turns out. A high wind, gusting to 45kmh started rising at about 10am, followed by a high pressure front - effectively ending our fun for most of the day. The wind blew so hard at times that it kicked up mini maelstroms of dust, and our floats were often blown back upriver, against the feeble "current."
Richard managed to find the hot button at the very end of the day, landing the fine hen in the caption below. But most of the rest of the time was spent smoking cigars, drinking beer, eating lunch and granola bars, making jokes; and brainstorming cost-cutting measures for our home economies, by planning amendments to our wives' and toddlers' diets, shifting them strictly to barley and corn (number 1 and 2 respectively on the calory per dollar ratio scale).
No fun whatsoever (when I announced the new diet to Laura the next day..hmmph! women!).