What’s In a Name
Word had it that there was a midday hatch occurring on a stretch of river near my home, which probably explained all the pickup trucks down near the bridge. It wasn’t until four days later that my schedule allowed me to check things out. I parked in the trees below a pool called The Old Same Place. I could see quite a distance along the railroad tracks. No other vehicles were visible, which likely meant either the hatch was over or I was in the wrong spot.
But being in an exploratory mood, I decided to fish this stretch anyway, and to compound further what basically was an experiment, I decided to use soft hackles only. That’s one of the pleasures of living near a trout stream — the opportunity for quick visits means you need not feel obliged to go with a “sure thing” approach.
The river was for the most part extremely thin, the sun high and bright, and the bugs, if present, were either too small or too discreet to be noticed. I ran a few drifts along the channel at The Willows, then moved down past Fornicating Rock to the riffly constriction near Lonesome Pine, then the deeper, shadowed run at Pink Flamingo, finally finishing up at the Toilet Bowl, just above Tweezers.
I’d like to say I fished well, but with no hits, much less trout to hand, that’s open to debate. It was a fine day, though, to be on the water, and the walk was pleasant, providing the opportunity to reflect on my surroundings. As I headed back upstream, skirting Pumphouse Flat, a thought floated up: by naming a pool, a riffle, a run, or simply a feature that has notoriety, we don’t just identify a spot that is somehow special, we establish a sort of ownership, too.
This placing of names personalizes a water, makes it ours, brings it closer to our hearts. And these names, if they’re passed on to others, link us to the anglers who felt a location deserved highlighting by giving it a name. The flow we fish is not just water, but time.
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