Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Rite of Spring
Thursday afternoon the PUDs will begin to trickle from disparate places into the valley of the Brule River in northern Wisconsin for the opening day of the steelhead season on Saturday, March 30th. Their destination is an A frame cabin on Balsam Bend that has been ground zero for 32 opening weekends. Thousands of hours of fishing, drinking, story telling, political maneuvering, conspiracy theorizing, bluegrass jam sessions, gastronomic marvels, and pure bliss have emanated from this one little piece of paradise. I am humbled and honored to once again be among them, my brothers of the chrome pursuit.
Looking at one of my old journals while rummaging and sorting gear for the upcoming pilgrimage, I stopped to remember the entry from Saturday mid morning of the year 2000. "Brule Opener - hooked five steelhead, all on a purple and black wooly bugger. Road Hole D was watching me from downstream and I could see he was becoming more frustrated at his lack of bites with each successive fish that I connected with. Presently, he walked upstream and bummed a W/B off me, marched back to his spot and immediately banged a fish. Hot damn!"
This year the snow in the valley is as deep as midwinter. The lower river is still covered in ice. The fish may not even be available, but the PUDs will still howl at the full moon !