We've had a good bit of heavy rain in short bursts over several days, but it has not muddied the river. Which means not much in the way of run-off, but there was some run-off and the river did get a thin layer of silt on the bottom and the water had less than its usual clarity.
So when the COE began releasing water this week it first stirred up that silt and the river did become muddy, for about a day, then that mud went on down the river as the release of water scoured the bottom clean again. The water clarity improved greatly.
Last weekend when I stood waist deep in the water I could not see my ankles, this weekend when I stood chest deep in the water I could see my feet clearly. And the water was cooler too, having come from the bottom of the lake. It was nicely cool, a bit of a mild shock on entering, but quickly adjusted to and it felt wonderful within a few minutes. And the weather was blue bird sky and light warm breezes and just gorgeous.
The releases last about 12 hours, so the river goes up and then down. The low point level of the river was a bit higher than the normal low point level of the river when they don't release for several days. Places where I'd normally be standing with the water below my waist were now halfway up to my chest. This opens up whole new stretches for fishing, so the fishing options were vastly expanded.
I fished several hours Saturday and several hours Sunday. And in those two days I did not get a single bite. Not a bump or a false hit or anything - it was like the fish were completely gone. All that beautiful water and no action. I threw everything I had, tried every retrieve I could dream up. I put everything except live bait out there. I had live bait at home, but just didn't want to fool with it this weekend.
Do not take any of that as a complaint. Skunk happens, it doesn't mean a thing. I had a hugely wonderful time. I was smiling and happy. Wading in clear cool water and casting flys can be an end unto itself. Catching fish is certainly the main goal, but it isn't the only goal. Getting out away from the noise of normal life, away from people, away from machines and computers, away from stress, away from thinking pretty much, those are worthy goals as well.
When I'm out in the water like that - I am in the moment - and every moment is a complete thing.
Being in the moment means I'm not thinking about the past and I'm not thinking about the future. I'm fully and totally absorbed in what I am doing right then. There is a fine and beautiful quality to that absorption not found anywhere else in my life.
I didn't catch anything, I didn't even get a bite of any kind, and it was an absolute total success. One I hope to repeat often and for a long time to come.