It’s the first cold morning of the season. The pines that line the long, dirt road sulk beneath a heavy blanket of October snow. We park at the rim of the canyon and rig up. Our bags are packed for a full day of fishing: canned soup, Jetboil, smoked salmon, bourbon, and extra layers—lots and lots of extra layers. A handful of mule deer give us a curious stare as we begin following faint game trails that serpentine their way into the canyon and toward the river. Once inside, the steep, granite walls greet us like old friends and the cold, flowing water feels just like home.
Fishing is a little slow today, but it doesn’t matter much to us. Cast after cast, we swing streamers across the deep runs, always anticipating a grab but very few bites ever materialize. Giant snowflakes fall from the sky and cover the banks of the river. Mother nature is transforming our summertime playground into a winter wonderland right before our eyes. We’re lucky to be here.
We begin to feel the pressure of not landing any fish and collectively decide to head to a new spot a little deeper into the canyon. On the way, we pass a hawk perched on a riverside boulder. His feathers are so soaked from the rain and snow that he can’t fly. We sit for a while with the hawk, his icy gaze locked in on us as we tie on darker streamers……
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Mark Rauschenberger is a Yakoda Supply Content Partner and all-around mountain man! When he’s not writing or shooting images for Yakoda you can find him high-up on the ski slopes or in the valleys on the hunt for trout. Check him out on Instagram @markierausch!