I went fishing early Saturday morning. Knowing it was destined to be a beautiful day (and a HOT one!), we started early. We put in at Riffe Lake, a bit surprised that there wasn’t more competition for boat ramp space, but were so drawn in by the peace and beauty surrounding us, we barely took note of it.
We did, however, have a mission in mind: silvers (which is, essentially, a landlocked Coho). I showed up with rod and reel in hand; my friend had the boat, the gear, and the savvy he had acquired after spending many hours the previous year haunting the lakes and learning how to successfully haul in a full limit of silver or rainbow beauties.
We were confident, we could see the “win” just in front of us. All we had to do is do what had worked before and success (and dinner) was ours.
Is that how it worked out for us? No. Not so much.
So after a couple of hours on Riffe, talking to other fishermen bobbing about in the same waters with the same lack of success, we decided to move on to Lake Mayfield and try our luck there. The mission had changed: rainbow trout.
We put in at Ike Kinswa and first ventured up into the mouth of the Tilton — with no success, and without seeing anyone else haul up a fish. Finally, my friend decided that he needed to “open her up” and run the motor a bit, “Ya gotta do that every once in a while.”
I heartily agreed. Every once in a while, you just have to rev up and run, feel that wind whip through your hair and throw yourself into the moment and let it fly (whatever your “it” may be). So up the lake and into the mouth of the Cowlitz River we flew.
When we arrived we set out our trolling gear again, and made a leisurely trip up one of the most beautiful rivers in the world (in my not-so-humble opinion). There wasn’t another boat in sight, cool breezes were coming off the glacier-fed water, giving us some welcome relief from the unseasonably hot early June sun. Now we just cruised. Still hopeful, yes, but almost resigned to the idea of going home empty handed.
We had seen many amazingly beautiful views. Met lone anglers, couples, families, and troops of men out on a weekend warrior fishing expeditions. We’d watched a group of Canada Geese fly in and settle in front of us, towing their teen-aged, still-downy kids behind them. Stared for long moments at soaring birds: turkey vulture, osprey, and eagle. We had been bumped and jostled and meditatively rocked into peaceful surrender by the startling blue waves of one lake and the deep green of another. We had sighed and lamented our lack of success, but never lost sight of the real “win” — the greatest of all views — Outside.
STILL, there was a “win.” One lone beauty of a rainbow trout. It was delicious.3