Sometime in the middle of winter I began to dream of fishing. Literally. Usually I dream of catching carp on warm, sunny days. The dreams are fairly true to life and remarkably un-dreamlike. Sometimes I am wading along a small stream, sometimes walking the banks of a placid lake. The sight of a “dream” carp, cruising the shallows or nose down in the mud triggers the familiar shot of adrenal excitement. I’ll stalk the fish carefully and make my cast. Sometimes I lose fish, sometimes I land them. Often I’ll set up my camera for a self-portrait.
The dreams are very pleasant, but when the unattainability of the experience becomes too depressing I start to search desperately for real-world fishing opportunities.
Such an opportunity arose this week. Between snows, the weather warmed to a balmy 44 degrees with a light rain. I headed out, through a snarl of traffic, to the closest tailwater to hunt for some hatchery trout. I was alone on the water, except for a flock of gulls. I worked my way along the bank, watching for signs of fish. Finally, within casting distance of the gray ramparts of the dam I spotted a rise. With all it’s various ducts and chutes closed, the dam produced no current at all, but I rigged up a nymph under a small indicator just as I would for fishing a lively river and made a cast. There was a flash and I found myself hooked to a lively little fish.
I fished happily in the shadow of the dam for two hours, dodging gull guano, hooking trout, and enjoying the rain.
I haven’t had another dream yet…