Jan 20, 2013

The Spirit of the River

This post comes to us from one of the most passionate steelhead anglers that I have ever known. Thank you Michael, for your thoughtful words.

Leading to the Spirit

When I am on the river I connect with much more than myself. I am not there just to fish but to learn... to learn about the simple beauty and connectedness of all life.

The last few times I have been on the river fishing for winter steelhead, I have noticed myself being more in tune with nature. I find myself looking for birds and other critters; listening for the call of the Raven or a Bald Eagle. I find myself sitting down and watching the piece of water I am going to fish; looking at the different currents and the speed of the river and gazing into the surrounding landscape. Being present and being open to the environment helps to foster this connectedness, and helps me to both learn and be challenged by these special places.

Coastal River Sunset

Steelhead fishing provides a way to slow down and check in with yourself, as well as to the workings of nature. As you work your way down a piece of water - making a cast every few steps while methodically watching the line as the fly dances through the pool and your body - it’s like a well tuned guitar; like an instrument awaiting that special note, when your fly stops and that silver ghost cartwheels out of the water and races down the river… I feel that from my experiences, when a steelhead takes a swung fly, you are connecting with the spirit of the river.

Silver Ghost

So the next time you arrive at the river, before you even step into a piece of water, take sometime to observe and listen, you may be surprised at all that you see and hear.

“Man is all of Nature” - John Muir

Michael Bray is an avid steelhead angler who spends most of his time roaming the rivers of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

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