In my youth, I would often giggle when my mom told me her favourite colour was orange. As I grew older it became easier to understand her appreciation for the range of hues boldly painted by Mother Nature in these warmer tones, especially in noticing the influx of fish that coincides with the metamorphosis. The seasons are changing and with that comes a new prospects and opportunities that other seasons could not have provided.
Late fall is by far my favourite time to get my line in the water. With the cooler temperatures, prime fishing is within reach for the average angler as fish prepare for their annual run with the select brave strays that follow. In my area, nothing compares to the fall colours of a trout or a salmon. In many rivers during the months of October and November, these species can be found and are easily targeted if you have the tools you need to succeed.
With my heavy schedule, I often have to work hard to make time for the hobbies I love, and more importantly, to stay true to who I am and live the lifestyle I crave. Needless to say, like everyone else I open up my planner and make a commitment to myself and to my friends and loved ones to set a date for fall fishing without any interuptions.
This year, I have been making a point to spend more time in the United States. That’s right, I now have a fishing license for both Minnesota and Wisconsin, or as my colleague Jimmy would say “’sconsin” – one day I will get the hang of this. Without hesitation, I committed to my next adventure being in Milwaukee and oh was I ever exited for what may lie ahead. I had been craving a serious heart-pounding, hand-numbing hook up with a heavyweight trout or salmon – one that my 6 weight would need a little persuasion to lead into the net, and I got just that.
Fishing a new waterbody has its challenges and I am no stranger to that feeling. One thing I have always believed is to keep it simple. We tend to follow the newest trends and want the latest, flashiest lures and flies around but often the basics and reliable au natural lures are the way to go. With that in mind I eagerly headed down the path to the river, prepared and thankful to have this opportunity.
I made my way into the faster current, mindful of each step with my acute awareness that I was a stranger to what lay beneath. A river must be treated with respect and it will respect you in turn. Minutes were passing and with each back and forth motion to set my fly, I also set forth a little piece of hope to feel the slightest bit of tension. And then it happened. I cannot even begin to describe the force of the salmon that shook me from my tranquil moment of contentment.
The first fish of the day made me appreciate the art and connection, and more prominently, the discipline and patience involved in tangoing with a heavy-hitting salmon. In moments like this, I can only smile and feel nothing but pure respect for the knowledge that has been passed down through generations of family and friends.
These snapshots of life, when that cheek-to-cheek smile flourishes across my face, are when I look up and see the trees brimming with their brilliant orange leaves. I can’t help but think: what would life be without a fish pic or two?
Tamara Spence lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario where she is working on her Masters Degree at Lakehead University. When not in the books, she can be found enjoying the endless fishing opportunities that Northwestern Ontario and the Upper Midwest have to offer.