My eyes open to the faint morning light. The sound of rain is soothing and settling, whispers hidden in the falling drops tell me that today will be at a slower pace. Rising to look out of the window, I pull aside the drapes to see a steady rain falling and a green misty hue emanating from the backyard vegetation. I take a deep breath and close my eyes; it feels like there hasn’t been a rainy day in weeks. The smell of rain reminds me of spring with a crisp, rejuvenating scent. Summer is loosening its grip on the days, and the beginning tinges of yellow in the trees confirm the change to autumn.
The last few months have been hot and dry and the streams I have fished appeared lower than I can remember. Stream beds built from flowing water are exposed to the air, with a lack of purpose like abandoned buildings in a city. Watching the rain, I imagine groundwater aquifers gradually refilling and stream levels slowly rising to once again submerge all their beds. Standing in my bedroom, I feel the rain is encouraging me to stay inside and slow down. All our recent rain has been violent bursts that smash down on soil and vegetation with winds that break branches and topple weakened trees. But the morning rain is steady and gentle.
Rainy days are a boon to the committed angler. Persistent precipitation saturates the ground and causes runoff, where loose particles of soil are mobilized by the water. Streams become more turbid, and the rising flows can dislodge stones in the stream bed and material on the streambanks. Insects and worms attached to the dislodged particles add food to the water column. If flows rise gradually and do not cause the depth to be excessive, the combination of camouflage and increased food availability provide more opportunities for fish to safely feed. Conditions also provide similar opportunities for anglers willing to be wet above and below the stream water.
Few anglers are excited to spend the day casting a line in the rain. So, in addition to good conditions, you can also fish in solitude. A rainy-day angler has to be aware of rising floodwaters and slippery conditions in the floodplain. Maintaining your balance requires intention and attention to each step and each surface set upon. Walking through the rain, I was reminded of the thought of slowing down. Today I would end up not fishing. I enjoyed the quiet of the rain day and focused on getting myself rejuvenated, much like I hope the streams, wetlands, and forests got to do.
“Rain is grace: rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” – John Updike