Since the fires, people have been coming into the shop and telling us that no fish had survived. That is 100% untrue, but it seemed to be the running joke of the day.
“All the fish are dead here, Mark.” I said as we exited the stream. Mark laughed at the comment, adding, “Well, the water has gotten more and more muddy, that could be a factor.”
“It’s certainly not looking good.” I added.
Just downstream from the dam was the only place where the water was clear. We both had streamers on, working our way upstream. Like true sportsmen, we were blaming everything but ourselves for not getting into fish today; we even went so far as to blame Mark’s wife, Carolyn, for cursing the flies before we had even started fishing.
On the river’s edge, Billie was watching as Mark and I rocketed our streamers out as far as we could. It was beginning to feel like a lost cause.
“Whoa!” Mark said faintly. I looked over and saw his rod was bent. For a second I thought he was snagged, because there was no play in his rod. I watched as his line started cutting through the water, which does not happen if you are snagged.
“A FISH!” I yelled to Mark.
Mark played it cool, not over reacting to the fight of the fish, and keeping his line taught as the fish went for another run. I raced over to help land the fish, and as he brought it in close enough for us to take a look, it turned and bolted off.
“It’s a bull trout, Mark!” I said over the screams of his reel.
“Well it doesn’t want to come in!” Mark said with a strain, as he managed to keep his rod from slapping the water. Another attempt to bring in the fish failed. Our excitement must have gotten Billie riled up enough to jump in and swim over to us. Mark’s rod was doubled over as he lifted the fish’s head out of the water; I slipped the net under it, landing the fish.
“My wife is not going to be happy!” Mark said, with a smile, “I caught it on the sex dungeon!” We both got a kick out of that, and it was also the first time we had seen Billie swimming around us.
“Billie? What are you doing here?” Mark said, as he took out the seven-inch streamer from the trout’s mouth, and held up his bull trout for a picture.