The drought and its unrelenting grip on the weather remind us of the absence of many things; moisture in any form, fishing of every type, and how Fall is being kept at arm’s length, denying us even a brief respite.
… unless you count forest fires as welcome change.
This year we had fires in every significant trout drainage in the state including; Hat Creek and Fall River, Yosemite, the Upper Sacramento, American, and anything else sloped towards the Pacific and sporting an overly warm dribble from the Sierra.
Naturally ebullient and unwilling to dwell on all the things denied us, I’ve busied myself with the Plenty, letting those prone to sourness swear at inclement conditions and hot weather.
The Hoped for Plenty: that Garlic field whose harvester missed enough furrows as to allow me to squirrel away enough garlic to render myself off-putting to a Zombie Apocalypse, an uprising of Vampires, or most anyone ringing my front door.
… and the Unasked for Plenty; the appearance of enough Olives on the trees ringing the fields to allow me to dabble in toxic chemicals, converting the bitter and astringent Olive into something more docile and table worthy.
Fishing has been relegated to observation of the watershed and the realization that the two greatest despoilers of the environment are actually the root of the creek’s continued survival…
Man, for all his shortsightedness and many faults – occasionally preserves a watershed by intent. While that is infrequent in my unclean waters, occasionally we grow tired of crapping on the small and defenseless, and guilt makes us part with a few farthings for restoration work.
That other great despoiler of watersheds is the Beaver. Considered an unwelcome invasive in both South America and Europe, as it has great appetite for bank burrowing and tree felling, neither act endearing the beaver to anything else sharing the watershed.
As my creek has been dry since July, and does so each year at that time, the only life left in the watershed is contained in pockets of deep water. After the floods of Winter, the beaver rebuild their dams over the Spring, deepening the creek measurably, and these “islands of water” are all that remain for the fish, flora, and in stream fauna. Without beaver and his incessant engineering, I would have no fish.
I still patrol the last few islands every couple of weekends. I carry a rod so as not to be considered a “person of interest” by the occasional jogger or landowner intent on my doings. I note the mink and beaver that occupy the remaining water and realize that predation doesn’t need my help. In this overly warm, stagnant environment it’s likely each fish hook thrust through jawbone could weaken the few brood stock that are left, and imperil next year’s fishing.
Which will be moot if this drought persists.