Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grand Mystery

Frost weighed down the tall grass along the bank of the Grand River as the sun climbed to the top of the trees lining the ridge of the valley. The low light made it hard to tell whether the river water was stained or clearing. The flow was about as low as the Grand gets as the fall rains had stopped for more than a week. Overnight lows were in the 30s and the water temp had dropped into the 40s.

Two friends were fishing even farther upstream and two more were closer to the lake. The idea was that one of us would bump into fish and we'd connect before noon and fish together. That was the idea anyway. Rem and I tried a few spots that had produced fish in past years -- both runs and pools -- and didn't bump into anything. As daylight spread it was easier to see that the water was stained slightly and carrying more leaves than one would like. And as the sun climbed higher the breeze picked up, putting even more leaves in the water. Golden leaves drifted down and filled the slow water at the edge of a promising pool. A hawk glided overhead in the blue sky. But the fish never showed.

We headed to another spot downstream and discovered the same luck.

Research had indicated that fish that were hanging out near Helen Hazen earlier in the week had headed up stream. But we couldn't find them. They are in there somewhere, but the Grand is often a mystery, particularly in the fall. It is the biggest river in the Ohio stretch of Steelhead Alley. There is more water to cover than any one person can cover in a day. And on this day, not even three groups of fishermen could find more than one river walleye and a skipper.

Every angler we encountered told a similar story. The Grand is less than sixty miles from Elk Creek, but it might as well be a million miles away. It's a completely different type of river requiring another skill level. Maybe one of these days I will solve the Grand mystery.

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