Time Stood Still

Time Stood Still

It was 45 degrees when I arrived at the gravel parking lot, just as official sunrise happened. Just as the mist was rising over the 52 degree water. Just as the colors were beginning to show in the trees. The magic space between darkness and full light. On the West Fork of the Pigeon River, the sun took a few more hours to peek out from behind the mountains. Those minutes could have ticked off very slowly, waiting for the warmth of the sun to kiss my face and hug my body, except time stood still. Cold didn’t matter. Discomfort of holding one position a long time didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except the magnificent beings I encountered.

Time might have first stood still when I watched the huge, fat brown trout—just two feet from my boots—for almost an hour…or two…who knows when you’re in no time.  Or perhaps when that trout’s friend arrived and both hulks gazed at my flies as they floated overhead. They didn’t want a dry fly, a nymph or a wet fly. I’ve never tried so many flies working one fish, two fish. But what an amazing experience to drop into fish time, which is really no time, and merge with water, flow, leaves, rocks in that space of Oneness. 

As the sun topped the mountain, the colors became so intense!

It reminded me of diving in Bonaire, my favorite dive destination, and stopping in a place where a fish or sea turtle was there and just hovering in no time while observing as part of the underwater community. Today, I was a gray rock. Only moving my arm to gently toss the line…it wasn’t a cast really…upstream of the small gathering of the trout giants. It felt like I was standing there hanging with friends. No need to talk, just hang out and enjoy the day. And watch the silly fly fisher’s flys float down the river.

Thanks Shawn for sharing this image of me trying to remove the hook…

Once I let the fly float past and kept watching the big trout. A smaller trout downstream grabbed the fly but I was too slow, my attention being on ‘brown beauties.’ It flipped off the hook. But I cast to the far side of the river and after two or three casts had a nice little brown trout on the line. I landed it in the water at my side and I knelt to remove the barbless hook but it wouldn’t come out of its lip. I reached for the hemostats and the fish swam off, with the fly. (It was a good lesson in using my net. Usually I can reach down and just touch the hook and it falls out but today the net would have helped contain the fish and then I could have removed the fly and released it. I have been told the fish can rub the fly out of their lip and the secretions from their mouth dissolve the hooks within a couple weeks. But I don’t want any fish to suffer because I was not diligent with my fish-handling skills).

I turned my attention back to the big brown trout and they wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. So I moved from the center of the river to the bank and switched flys. I sat on a large rock and for a lark tossed out the fly. A nice rainbow trout bumped it, took it under, and generally played with it every time it floated past. It was that kind of day. Yes, we see your amazing fly. No we don’t want anything to do with it.

Always check with your wading staff to see if the leaves are on the bottom or are floating. This one almost led to a good dunking.

The fish, for the most part, were just not that interested. A guide we passed said they had the same thing happening. Some days trout play, other days they won’t. But for me, when I can stand in a river for an hour watching two trout, that’s as close to bliss as I can be unless I am diving.

There were other trout and attempts and they all said, meh. But what a fabulous morning. Almost five hours fishing, standing in flowing water. 

My vibe when I drop into ‘no time.’

I suspect brown trout are masters of time for they led me into no time. In their world, I spent hours of being present with beauty, abundant beauty, that is magnified exponentially by forgetting everything else except what unfolds each moment.

Shout out to United Women on the Fly for having such a great forum for gals to meet other gals interested in fly fishing. Shawn’s hubby works at NOC as a raft guide. When he works, she plays. 🙂
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