Before the sun rose, twilight began to light the stream valley enough for me to see the large boulders upstream breaking through the water into the low fog. First on the stream, just as day was breaking on a cloudy day, this was set up for an ideal morning of fishing. Navigating on the winding roads in the dark of morning could have lolled me into a sleepy state, but I had to be sharp to avoid any run-ins with the deer who claimed this time as their own. 

I was efficient with my getting on my waders and rigging my rod in anticipation of having a banner morning. A light rain began to fall as I stepped into the stream. Reaching down to touch the water, I felt the chill of a trout stream in summer. The warmth of a summer day always makes the temperature of a cold stream much colder. Several deep breaths later, I looked upstream then downstream along the corridor and was ready to fish.

An Ideal Morning for Fishing!

Water levels appeared lower than the last time I fished here, but still were at a healthy level. I knew to find pockets of deeper, darker water with steady currents and boulders for habitat. My first spot was targeted, and I began to dissect it. On my fourth cast I had a strike. My hook set was slow and uncoordinated. As quickly as I hooked the fish, I lost it. 

I shook it off and moved upstream. For the next hour and a half, I picked my spots, waded carefully and made good casts. No fish. I changed flies, first with different nymphs and then to streamers. The fog still sat closely over the water and the light maintained the feel of twilight, even after the sun had risen. Still no fish. I felt off, like I couldn’t dial in. 

A Large Boulder Deflecting the Flow

When my brain is sharp and my body moves fluidly with coordination, I can find a space where I am present, focused, and in the flow of fishing. I have success in predicting when fish will strike, and I move through the water like a stalking heron. Today I felt none of those things. Hesitation delayed each step and I had to reach to restore my balance repeatedly. My breathing felt shallow, my mindset was anxious and nervous. The sounds of falling branches in the forest startled me as my confidence waned and stole my focus. 

I’ll get back to the river in the next day or so, but I had to leave the stream today with an unsettled feeling. I missed my chance to take advantage of optimal conditions and I drove home with more doubt than satisfaction. Learning from a morning like this is hard. When you just suddenly feel off, what do you do? I didn’t have time to work my way through it, but it may have gotten worse, or I could’ve made enough of a mental mistake to slip and fall. 

Juicy Pocket Water

Spending time with my family today, I felt my balance and mental acuity reconnect. What can I take from this morning? Sometimes, you are out of sorts, and you need to give yourself grace. Settling into your breathing, regaining balance and focus can’t always be forced. But completely backing away and going back to bed doesn’t serve you either. In the next day or so, I’ll find my way back to the river and see if I can get back in the flow. 

Keep Mending…

2 Replies to “Getting Back in the Flow”

  1. I was struck that you still took in the setting! Acknowledged the beauty and the presence of life around you!
    Regrouping with the family blessed you ad now you fish another day!

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