Scratching That Itch

There is a magic to the river that comes with spring. You know it. It is that time when you hear the first red-wing do his oka-leeee from the willow patches, or hear the whistle and rhythm of a pair of honkers cupping wings to the water. There’s a smell to the place too, that rich, deep smell of frozen earth thawing, of ice giving way to sunshine, of sap chugging up through greening stem into bulging bud.
All winter you’ve been tying and chomping. Finally, a day comes when the sun washes the land and promises a great daily dose of Vitamin D. So you call an avid buddy, break out the canoe that’s been gathering dust all winter, and head to the water.

Lining the canoe in an early season river.

You thread that canoe between collars of ice, lining it in thin water that is winning the war against that same ice thanks to a relentless sun. You stop and cast a few times and the fishing is slow, for the water is still very cold and the trout lie deep where they fin in semi-hibernation and perhaps wish for days of warm and abundance of hatch. No matter that the fishing is slow. The sun is good, the company better, and it is just good to get out–cliche though that thought may be. Get out.

–Tom Reed

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