The joys of a backyard river

IMG_4692Early this spring my wife and I moved from our home in the forest to a small home on a  river, something I’d always wanted to do.   Granted, this isn’t some famous trout river and it is currently a very small river but it is still a river and we have a few hundred feet open of waterfront on it with a trail system that lets me access a good mile of water easily.

All spring I sat and watched the river go up and down with the rains, ranging from just over 800 cfs and a big brown mess to looking absolutely perfect with flows around 60-75 cfs.  All that was before the river opened for fishing.  By the time June rolled around and the river opened it was low and clear, running about 25-30 cfs which seemed really low to me until now when it is at about 11-15 cfs most days.   I can just about cross the river now without getting wet above the ankles in my yard if I’m careful about it.

I fish the river on days when I can’t get out to the “real” trout rivers that are about 10 miles away  in a few directions.  The river has small rainbows and cutthroat for the most part but also a few steelhead babies swimming around that put a good bend in a light rod.  The river is perfect for my Rhodo in short length, that is how I fish it most of the time and even the little hand sized fish put up a decent fight.   I can walk off my deck, cross the river or wade upstream about 100 yards and be in good trout water any time I want.  I usually catch a few fish then walk back home.  No need to overdo it, the river is always there.

The best thing about the river though isn’t the trout really.  It is lying out on the bank in the shade in the evenings watching the swallows and waxwings go after bugs that are hatching.  It is watching a family of mergansers grow up each day as they paddle their way up and down the river.  It is hearing the daily chatter of the kingfishers that live somewhere close by and use the river as their highway.  In the fall we’ll have salmon spawning in the yard and maybe a few steelhead running through on their way upstream.   Best of all so far though is opening the bedroom windows and getting lulled to sleep by the gurgling of the river each night.