Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
It’s been a great couple days for birds.
This morning, I saw a pair of yellowshafted Northern Flickers flickering about my backyard. They were stunning adults with a brilliant red nape crescent. I also saw an orange Baltimore Oriole flitting about my pine trees. The bird’s color was psychedelically orange. The avian backyard chatter was intense. I felt like I was on a New York City subway car. I heard languages from around the world all at the same time.
Over the past week, I’ve been seeing a large number of Sandhill cranes in farm fields. They are impressive. I tried to take their picture but pretty much failed. I would drive towards them, but they would fly off to the next field. I drove to that field and, again, they took off.
Yet these bird experiences were nothing like last Friday.
I got to see a pair of huge adult white-assnow swans sail across STH 29 in the morning. This was amazing. These birds are so proud, so large and powerful. I was lucky to get a fairly close look at the pair. It was a beautiful sight.
This year’s trout fishing season is just beginning.
I slid on my waders on Saturday for my first trip down the Big Rib River in Taylor County. The weather was cold and a nasty wind whipped through the river channel.
I trekked across an old deer trail to get to my fishing spot. A couple large pine trees had fallen over the trail during the winter. I had to do a fisherman’s limbo to get under one large pine to make progress on the trail.
There was no insect hatch so the river was quiet. I saw one trout rise during my whole trip.
I tied on a number of different streamers before I found one that worked. It was orange wrapped in silver tinsel with a couple feathers.
The fishing was not spectacular, but when a trout would strike, the fish just whanged into my streamer. I got to fight several nice fish.
The fishing was all about the unexpected. I went to my favorite holes on this stretch of the Big Rib River and waited for the fish to bite. They didn’t. I moved down a dozen yards, where fish never bite, and got some action.
The river was in the middle of spring. Trees were just starting to bud out, the river bank vegetation just beginning to green up. The river was starting to come to life after a lengthy winter. It was taking its sweet time.
I was alarmed to see a fairly fat otter swim across the river. Seeing that fellow critter, I worried about the trout population. He was chestnut brown with big old whiskers.
I fished until the sun dimmed behind the leafless trees. The branches were gilded with fading light. It was beautiful in a lonely, desolate way.
I fought the frigid wind up the river and all the way back to the car. I munched on a handful of peanuts and raisins, my river snack mix. It was good to get off the river and back in my vehicle.
I smiled driving home. I was cold, beat up a little by a wind I failed to dress properly for. But I had also caught some early season fish on the Big Rib River. And that was enough for me.