Sunshine pours over the riverbank, illuminating the crunchy pale-colored rocks that line the far bank. The narrow creek slides away in front of me. The zinging clamor of the cicadas melts into the back of my mind. Green growth tumbles down toward the river on all sides. On the northern side of the creek, the vines and mulberry trees hang over the water, creating deep, shaded pockets in the water. On the southern side, the exposed rock beach is pale in the morning light.
The rising sun illuminates a flash of purple. I move to cast; the trout vanishes into the rocks. He saw me. I move to a different pool, this time crawling along the bank under cover of the trees and casting sidearm. I’m using the tried-and-true Wooly Bugger, but it doesn’t seem to be catching their attention. I switch to a Caddis and head downstream.
In a long, narrow corridor of water, the creek changes from a running riffle to a gently swirling pool. The bright sky blue of the water, the tan-colored lightness of the sand, and the rocky bed underneath the shrub-shrouded riverbank combine to form a perfect trout run. Casting from my knees, I lay my line into the last ten feet of riffle, mend it upstream, and let it ride down over the entire pool.
Waiting. Casting. Cicadas ringing. Brook gurgling, sliding. Waiting. Looking for a surface hatch. Fury on the water, tearing line out of the reel, purple explosion. Caddis did the job. I hold the rainbow trout under the water for several seconds, admiring his beauty. The water slides off of his body, shimmering in effervescent waves of blue and green. The characteristic purple blaze down his stomach is offset by an intricate arrangement of spots and speckles and overlaid with shades of blue, orange, red, green, and grey that blend into his dark spine. Picture time; I reach for my phone. A flick of the tail, and he’s gone. Better that way.