– Photos by Jon Tobey –
As the early morning commuters began their day yesterday, a friend and I embarked on a two hundred mile angling adventure through the North Cascades in search of wild bull trout / dolly varden, and the chance of an early winter steelhead. Winter has certainly arrived in the Pacific Northwest with short days, sub-freezing temperatures, a fresh layer of snow on the mountains, and a dangerous coating of ice encrusting everything. We encountered spectacular scenery, sweeping vistas, towering mountains, ancient old-growth forests, stunning wild rivers and dramatic landscapes. Eagles soared freely on the thermals surveying the frozen scene below while the last of the fall salmon spawned in the icy shallows.
Despite the brutal cold the weather was exceptional for this time of year with blue-bird skies and sunshine. The temperature barely broke 22 degrees and we battled constantly with icy guides and reels that froze solid in seconds, making us wonder how we even land a large fish if we hooked one. Our target species proved to be somewhat elusive, although we did see a few fish and encountered an early winter steelhead, who proved to be even more elusive. A gorgeous 24″ bull-trout / dolly varden proved to be our hard-earned reward at the end of the day as the sun slid back behind the frozen Cascades and we began our journey home…
This entire adventure transpired within about the same amount of time as most people’s normal work-day (including commute). I was accompanied by long-time fishing buddy and angling author Jon Tobey (GoIntoTheLight Blog), who’s blog post about the adventure ended with an insightful quote on how we spend our time:
“And I have to wonder if I can do that in every 8 hour day how can we justify the time we spend toiling under the paper mountain?”