Buoyed by Wallacio's optimism, I ignored the fact that it had rained buckets last night and that most of my rivers would be running high chocolate today, and went fishing.
I only had a little less than a couple of hours to deal with, as usual, which did nothing for my own optimism, but did wonders for my pessimism.
When I got down to the Lake, I saw that my predictions in that quarter, at least, were correct. Though there were a few taller waves, the swell was minimal and gentle. My spirits rose.
I fished the Lake for about 30 minutes without effect. My spirits fell.
Sighing, I trudged to shore and began looking over the estuary. The water was nowhere near as high as I would have liked, and the clarity left much to be desired. It looked somehow like a giant, green sewer. My spirits retreated somewhere, down in the vicinity of my heels.
Tearing off a spent roe bag, I put on a new one and cast it out. The cast was bad, and the wind blew the offering to shore, and I thought doesn't that just figure. Sucking it up, I cast out again and this time the float landed true. It rounded the corner gently, sauntering toward the river mouth, and then it went down. My rod whistled through the air as I yanked back, and the line, hook and all, came flying out fishless. But the roe bag had been pulverized by something... my spirits rose, cautiously.
I tied on a new roe bag. I tried again. Perhaps three drifts into it, the float started to jiggle. It jiggled a little left, a little right. It stopped. Then it when down. Whooof! my rod went up, and this time I felt the hook hit home. There were head shakes, a leap - of brilliant chrome steelhead - and moments later, a beautiful 4 lb early fall steelhead on the bank. Oh clumsy me! A lovely steelhead in the water again, slipping through my fingers before I could take a picture.
Steelhead number two did about the same thing, only this time when the fish took off from shore, and as I reached confidently for my camera, my right hand forgot what my left hand was doing - which was to block the wheel on the centrepin; and the fish shook its head once, a lunge, and it was gone.
But now my spirits were up. They stayed up, through four large Chinooks. I went through the trouble of landing two of them, one of which I gave to a fellow angler who seemed interested in finding new ways of torturing his own palate, and released the other. The last two I "released" via clamping on the reel and letting the line break, as by then I didn't have time to fight them but needed to start toward the car and make for work. On my way out, I handed the few roe bags I had left to the envious Russian gentleman, who was genuinely grateful for the chance to catch a fish on his own!
All this in just a little over an hour. Too bad it can't always be like this!