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Our Overdue Fishing Trip

Over a month ago, my daughter strained her right shoulder by lifting boxes in an awkward way. For the whole time since, we’ve not done the father-daughter activity that we both enjoy; fishing. There was a fear that casting would hurt her shoulder more. Yesterday, we took our overdue fishing trip.

Cat’s shoulder still isn’t healed, but early in the week, the doctor finally had an MRI done on it. The good news is that nothing is torn. It is just healing very slowly. His recommendation was for her to take it easy and to take Ibuprofen when it starts hurting. Of course, that isn’t very valuable advice. Like me, she can’t go without using her shoulder and she has been taking Ibuprofen for the pain. But at least we know that there isn’t something seriously wrong that will get worse if she uses the shoulder.

As sort of a celebration for that little bit of good news, she wanted to go fishing. I was all for it, though there was one minor problem. Our car needs mechanical work done on it. They were supposed to do it last Tuesday, but the guy that handled the work order forgot to enter it into the computer. They were booked solid and the work is going to be an all-day thing (intake manifold gasket, new water pump, etc). They had to reschedule for next Tuesday.

All of this is to say that the car is prone to overheating. Any fishing would need to be very closeby. Thankfully, there is a place that fits, that we refer to as simply “The Bridge”. The spot is under the bridge that spans the Clark Fork River and separates our town from the county fairgrounds. This isn’t the county seat, but it is where the fairgrounds for the county is.

So, off we went, fishing. We didn’t catch anything, except for a crawdad that is now in our 20-gallon aquarium, but we still had fun, got to relax, and I was able to take a few pictures.

Silver willows

Looking just downstream from where we fished, this sandbar is densely covered with silver willows. These are a kind of river willow and although it is a bush rather than a tree, it is very hardy. The river water level is down, though not tremendously low. When the water is high, as it gets every spring, these willows are under water, with only the tallest tips showing. Obviously, they withstand being submerged for part of the year.

The picture isn't expansive enough to show it, but this is an eddie pool, where the water swirls around and actually moves upstream to the point that this picture was taken. It is normally a good place for bass, walleyes, squawfish, perch, and there are northern pike that prey on the other fish.

Looking across the river

This view is facing the fairgrounds. The red roof that can be seen on the far side of the river is one of the largest buildings in the fairgrounds. About mid-frame is what is left of the old bridge pylon that was left when the bridge was rebuilt a decade or two ago.

The new bridge is in really good shape and should last for some time to come. The old bridge was in bad shape and it was quite a bit lower, barely above flood stage. Our floods last year would have probably swept over the old bridge.

The water here is very reflective, though it isn't a smooth surface. It actually looks calmer than it is. Incidentally, many swallows build their nests along this bridge and although there were 20-30 flying around, I don't think I was able to catch any pictures of the swallows.

Closer view of the fairgrounds

Zoomed in over the pylon, some of the buildings of the fairgrounds are a little easier to see. The leafy trees that can be seen towering over the buildings are cottonwoods and the single very tall tree is a Ponderosa pine, about 75-90 feet tall.

The sandy area between the fairgrounds and the river is a favorite for families to go to, to escape the heat of the day. We were there early, so there weren't many people.

Under the bridge toward signal hill

This view is under the bridge, facing the opposite shore. The hill in the background is signal hill and it is were signal towers and satellite transponders are located for our valley. Without them, our valley would be electronically 'dark' with no cell phone reception, tv signals, or Internet.

I mostly wanted to capture the row of cottonwoods in the picture, but I rather like the cirrus clouds in the image that look like they were made with an enormous paintbrush. Immediately on the other side of the cottonwoods is rich farmland.

Signal hill

This is a zoomed in picture of Signal Hill that makes it a little easier to see several of the towers. They appear as short line segments atop the hill, but they are actually all quite tall. The largest stands well over 100 feet and possibly closer to 200. They only look small because the actual distance between where I was standing and the top of the hill was about four miles.

That was our outing and even though we didn't catch any fish, we still enjoyed it. It was very relaxing. Well, it was a bit of a pain to climb down under the bridge and more of one to climb up, but that is just because my legs are in such bad shape. I'm not as spry as I was 30 years ago. It was also worth the trip, just to be able to kick back and relax a little.


What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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        • I have many fond memories that revolve around fishing. In fact, some of them occurred in places that I still remember in great detail. I may never see those places again, but the memories stay with me. Sometimes a sight, smell, sound, or words can trigger those memories, too.

          • `I remember the first time I caught a bass. When that mighty fish broke the surface of the water it was amazing.

            My grandmother taught me how to clean the first. We cooked it in an old iron skillet. It was the best food ever!

        • That is a great example of what I was talking about. When I read about your first bass, I had a mental image of sitting next to a crackling fire, a steaming cup of coffee in hand, looking out over a lake that had mists swirling about the surface, just as it was becoming light enough to discern shapes. I can recall the sound of splashes as a trout jumped after some insect and remember scanning the lake, trying to see the telltale ripples of where the fish had jumped.

          Very little of what you said had to do with that memory…it was a trout rather than a bass and it was a memory of a beautiful dawn I witnessed. I wasn’t a child at the time and it was about a half hour before I would end up grabbing my fly pole and go down to the lake to limit out, all before the sun had fully risen and while my wife was still asleep in the sleeping bag in the tent.

          Memories are like that. The trigger can be something that is only vaguely similar to the memory.

          • you’ve kicked off a hundred memories. On the lake as the sun burns off that initial haze and the world is huge again.

            I am going fishing next weekend!

        • Great! There is always room for more memories, so you will be able to make new ones.

          I have a hunch that my future will hold many memory-making opportunities. In my case, the memory-making will begin on Thursday, God willing, because that will be when we leave on the trip to get Asti unless something happens between now and then that prevents it.

          Even all of this is on topic. One of the things we found out is that Asti has never been fishing or camping, and she very much wants to do both. She actually has been both fishing and camping, but she was 2 at the time and doesn’t remember it. There will be opportunities for memory-making.

          I wish you well on your fishing endeavors! Be sure to take pictures since that would be great for quite a few posts and articles. (Hint)


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