I have made the seven hour drive to upstate New York and western New York on two separate occasions. I have hooked many steelhead and landed only one, a 14” fish. Such is the theme of fishing. It is hard not to be discouraged when multiple days on the water yield little to no fish, but it happens and I am not immune to discouragement. Still, I try to mitigate those feelings by focusing on what is going right, and when I am outside standing in a river, well then a lot of things are right and good. After a tough day fishing, I often tell myself, “I went on a hike today in a beautiful setting, the trail just happened to be in a river.” It is all about perspective.
Enough about my fishing woes. I much prefer to focus on the fish my friends caught, knowing the persistent focus these fish required. October 2013 was a hot and dry month for Buffalo, NY. Low flows on Erie tributaries from lack of rain resulted in fewer fish moving into the rivers. The outcome was less than ideal fishing conditions. Charlie and Steve took this blow in stride, perfecting their spey casts while covering water with streamers. Their mindset was, “If we are not catching fish, lets not catch fish swinging streamers.” My mindset was, “If I’m not catching fish, I’m going to sit on the bank and carve this stick I found.” As is almost universally true, good things come to those who wait and persist. Charlie and Steve each got their steelhead on the swing and I got my pointy stick.
Although I would have much preferred landing a monster steelhead, I am not upset with how things turned out. It was a beautiful weekend spent exploring new water with friends. I got to watch my friends catch fish and help net those fish. There will be other chances at steelhead sometime in the future. Until then, I am going to enjoy memories of that nicely carved stick.