If you fish our area long enough you'll find yourself obsessively checking things like weather reports, stream flows, forecasts, etc. After it rains you start counting the hours, monitoring the flow gauges like you're possessed, and waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat to dreams of green water, screaming drags, and really big chromers.
This fall hasn't been a cakewalk. No water, no fish - it's that simple. So for anybody who cares about steelhead fishing in our area, the rain we had the other night was a welcome respite from a dry nightmare that just wouldn't end. I was working today, and had the pleasure of fishing with two gents from the south. These guys have both fished all over the world, and as a guide, when you know that about your clients coming up, it adds a bit of pressure. There's not many ways that northeast Ohio can be compared to Alaska, Labrador, New Zealand, or anywhere like that - but when our fishing is good, it's just as good if not better than anywhere in the whole wide world.
I was a little nervous about what the water was going to look like this morning. The gauge had dropped, but kind of stalled out, there had been a little more rain overnight, and there was still a lot of standing water in the drainage. I'd stayed up late the night before tying big chartreuse, orange, and cerise sucker spawn; better to be ready for the worst. I showed up just after first light, walked down to the river, and held my breath as I looked over the bank down in to the water. After looking at the water only one question remained. Is this going to be the day?
Our fishery has "boom potential" unlike any other. Basically, if you run in to a fresh push of fish on an Erie tributary, chances are it's going to be a day you're going to remember for a very long time. However, fish these rivers enough and you'll notice that things don't always happen the way they should - sometimes the water is perfect, but the other half the equation is missing. Fish aren't always predictable, and they don't take angler concerns in to consideration when making their spawning runs in to our creeks. Some days where conditions suggest that even trying to fish is futile, the creek gives fish away. Other days when the fishing should be incredible the water is fickle and nothing comes easy.
Today was one of those days where I thought it could have gone either direction. But it didn't.
It was "the" day.