I spent a few hours steelhead fishing on the Grand River yesterday morning. I was up at 5:00 am and in the river with my best friend Dave and a friend of his, Bill by 7:00 am. The air temperature was 20° and crisp, steam rising off of the river warming with the rising sun. It was my first time steelhead fishing. The last time I was fishing was in 2006 – it was either August or September with another friend, the late Dan Graybill, Greg Horn, Greg’s sons and Roland Scott. We were walleye and perch fishing on Lake Erie. I think we got one walleye before the choppy conditions sent us back to the dock.
It’s funny in a way, I spent the first 7-8 years of my life fishing on Georgian Bay. My father was running a family camp for the Cleveland YMCA on an island called Pentecost Island. We knew it as Wakonda. By the age of 8, I had caught crappie, rock bass, large and smallmouth bass, and northern pike. I loved fishing, but over the years, I just got away from it. Hunting had become my outdoor passion, in particular, pheasant and grouse hunting. I forgot just how much I enjoyed the simplicity and peace of fishing.
But back to fishing. Here we were on a section of the Grand River in Harpersfield Township. The river wound with a few bends, one to the left, and about two-hundred yards down, what appeared from my vantage point to be a dog leg turn to the right. We walked down the river a hundred yards or so and entered the river. It was my first time wearing chest waders. Definitely a different feeling walking in water past my knees, especially as I chased snag after snag – but, hey I never lost a lure! We spent about 3 hours just standing in the water casting for steelhead that refused to appear for us.
However, it was a terrific way to spend a morning and reigniting an interest in fishing. It was almost a meditative experience: inhale, cock the fishing rod. Cast: exhale. breathe deep while reeling in the lure. I saw my first Kingfisher, a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers, listening them with their rat-a-tat-tat-tat drilling into a tree trunk and was somewhat transfixed watching icicles melting and falling from the escarpment siding the river. Often times, they fell dragging gravel and shale with them. I didn’t catch anything and neither did Dave or Bill. Can’t wait till this weekend to get back in the water.