Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Empty Canvas

Perhaps the two best tasks for January are planning and dreaming. Personally, I prefer some combination of the two. I like to get out the calendar and stare intently at the weekends in March and April and imagine where I might find a perfect blue wing olive hatch. Or pick out a week in the middle of August and imagine how it might look if spent a half dozen miles or more from the nearest car, down some dusty trail that turns rocky, then muddy with an alpine spring or two, before it meets the shore of a backcountry lake.

This time of year the calendar is an empty canvas. Well maybe there is a hint of brown and yellow (with black and red spots) in October. But other than that it is empty. How will you fill it? More lakes? Or maybe fewer lakes and more rivers. Or fewer rivers and more creeks. Fewer tailwater rainbows and more backcountry cutthroat. Maybe a bull trout (in Canada) or a carp (at the nearest brown piece of water). Bass? Pike? Tarpon? Ten-inch pellet heads with your kids? In January its all possible and it doesn't matter that only a tenth of it (or less) will come off (if forced, choose the pellet heads with your kids).

I haven't the means for a monster trip to some distant locale this year. Or next. Or last. One day I would like to fish Kamchatka and New Zealand and Alaska and Patagonia. Well, not all in one day but over the course of several trips or seasons or decades. For now, I am happy to live in a part of the world that some people plan and dream about traveling to. I am happy to dream about far away lands while I plan trips up the road and over the pass. To places where trout rise and pine trees tower.

I can see several such landscapes just now as I stare at the calendar. Outside it is snowing.    

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