October 19, 2011

The Skunk


Every angler experiences it from time to time, the dreaded skunk. In my case it was literal as I came upon a dead one lying in the water on the Conneaut. It was waterlogged and ripening, but the smell wasn't overwhelming. However, I wonder how much of its odor wafted downstream. It was early morning and early in the steelhead season. I had pounded several holes and pools downstream without much success. The dead skunk should of been taken as an ominous sign that things might not be fine and dandy today. But, I'm a half glass full kind of angler. I looked at him one last time and wondered if any of the critters in the woods would have to the courage to feast on his filthy rotting corpse. 

It was unseasonably warm and the creek was running low and clear. Deep water was few and far between. The only action I was getting was fighting off the repeated hit and run attacks of the resident creek chubs. I would watch with great disdain as the float popped up and down. It was wasn't that violent take that is often associated with steelhead. I would flick the float as if they were that annoying fly bothering me. When I reeled in the line, I would see the sac nibbled down to the last few eggs. By now that glass that was starting to get a little more empty. 

October on the Alley can be hit or miss. Here in Ohio it's usually more of a miss, because the state stocks a spring run. But generally Lake Erie steelhead don't imprint well on their streams of stocking and they often "shop" for the best river in the vicinity. I sit on the bank and I'm plotting my next move. The fall foliage is in full color and I'm soaking up the last of the fall sun rays, before the lake effect snows came barreling across the lake. There are a few more spots that I can try before heading back and going further upstream. I finish off my bottle of water and head upstream. Despite the warmer weather, the creek is a quiet place. I left many of the anglers further downstream. Some of them stood in the dark, patiently waiting for the first rays of light to hit the water. I on the other hand, wasn't going to race down to the river. There would be plenty of time for that. I was content to get there in the morning and enjoy my time out. 

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