Our Man In Canada
December 2nd, 2002


By Dave Jensen , Alberta, Canada

There is something about fall. Let's face it, the newness of the season is long gone, our hope for something new or unexpected has waned. Those of us still on the quiet, empty streams and lakes are more a different crowd, tending to be the type out for a normal day of fishing than a few 'last casts'. Those that have left are gone until early June or July next year. We're the type that know winter is coming. We'll be here then too. We see the end of dry fly fishing is near. Going, going, gone will be t-shirts and shorts, replaced by layers of fleece, wool, and something to break those darned winds that warm up the air so we can head out in January. The season doesn't end, it just seems to dim a bit. Down to about 5 hours of fishing in January.

I finished our guiding season today. It was a tough day watching as my client went 1 for 12 on the takes. Such is luck like that. The final take he missed. I knew it was going to happen. I've seen it so many times. A tough day of luck ends the way it usually does. Tough. He knew the fish was there. A good fish for sure. A good cast and twitch. As it began to swing I watched as he bent down to untangle the line from his feet. He looked down. As he did I said out loud, "not now... please not now" I spoke to the fish. Of course the fish hit. It was a good one. When you see a massive boil in the middle of a rapid, it's a good fish. The boil was replaced by a "pop." Time to head in. It's not arrogance here. It's "I'm on your team. I really wanted you to get on that one. Better luck tomorrow." And there almost always is. You can't draw low cards every day.

I think back to all of the moments of the spring, summer, and into the fall. So many pleasant memories. So many fish. So many smiles. Very few stresses. So little time at home. So much time thinking of snuggling up to Amelia as I drag the raft up to the truck at 11:30pm. Time to get off the water. Time to get home. Just enough time to get there, chow down, snuggle up a bit and wake up at 5:30 to do it again. Such a warm, comforting feeling looking back on those long days of May, June, and July. Rowing hard and holding water for 3 hours during a heavy hatch. Aimlessly rowing in the hot sun as nothing is happening. I now chuckle with a blank stare as I gaze at the back of my eyes to my recent history. I float the bank of the river, tracing out the risers still feeding there in my mind. Linder, your 23" male is feeding again today. Yes, he's still beside the fence. Let's just drop anchor and sit and watch him today.

Fall has that different feel. Stand on that gravel bar. Take a good look around. The air is chilled. The sun warms your back but up front your nose is running. Wipe it on your sleeve when nobody's looking. "What the hell?" you ask yourself out loud. There's nobody out here.

Hatch is light today. Might pick up around 2. Maybe. Which run do I want to be at when it comes? Better start hoofing it then.

You notice that branch that you caught the riser from back in July is now 2 feet clear of water. Season changed. That bouldered, cobbled run is now a shallow washboard. Didn't get too much water this year. Think I heard it's supposed to snow a bit more this year. Hope so. But not too much. I want to get out before July next year.

Guides have a tremendous life. We had the choice to make a little more money doing something else just to spend it doing what we're doing anyway or to cut bait and enjoy being there daily.

Yes, I sit here relaxed, contemplating heading out on the river. We worked hard this summer. We saw a lot of fish. We saw the same fish over and over. We were fortunate to meet a bunch of new folks from the world over. We're hunkering in for a bit. Did I mention I was contemplating heading out to the river? Moving a bit slower now.

Fall is a time to invite friends out. Haven't seen each other in a couple of months. Sure we talk every week or so but being out on the river is something completely different. Hate to see you go a day without a fish but, man, it was good to be out here with you again. ~ Dave Jensen

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