It’s the peak of bird season and all I can think about are these silvery muscle bound pissed-off ocean jocks turned river bullies who have nicotine scars patinated on my primate brain center as much as chukar.
*I apologize for the crappy iPhone pics.
First off, I am not a steelheader. I live in the driest state in the union, the Big Empty, the high desert wasteland that everybody dreads even driving through. I get down to the coastal ranges of California a couple of times a year, along with a few trips to the western Sierra’s Yuba and American rivers, so at best I am a tourist. Northeast Nevada used to have runs of steelhead and salmon in the Owyhee, Jarbidge and Bruneau rivers as well as Salmon Falls Creek, all of which are tributaries to the mighty Snake of the mightier Columbia River drainage. I didn’t know that till a few years ago and am still amazed these creatures swam from the vast and distant Pacific to the tides of sage brush and high desert just above the north rim of the Great Basin. Anadromous salmonids are truly amazing fish and a pure symbol of determination, especially the steelhead who might make the round trip several times between salt and sage in their lives. Oregon and Idaho are lucky enough to have chukar and steelhead available at the same time in the same canyons and that’s made me seriously consider a move to what probably is my simpleton Valhalla.
But for now I’ll let the battle of priority rage on and plot courses down isolated coastal rivers while I hoof up lonely desert peaks till I can’t stand to separate the two any longer.
The pup isn’t always stoked to go to the lowlands in freezing winter water in search of “riverbirds”, but she manages to find high ground and takes advantage of my sympathy for her complete lack of body fat.
See you soon you legless devils, see you soon.