Summer came late this year, thanks to what we in Truckee have been calling “Snowmaggedon,” a long winter with blizzards and heavy dumps and rains that turned to ice, causing trees to snap, power to fail, and vehicles to pirouette when least convenient. At the end of August, one could still see snowfields along the Sierra Crest, west of town. Usually these patches of white have vanished by mid-July. Many long-distance hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail had to replan routes or timing.
This past summer was also unusually warm and humid, with a surprising number of afternoon thunderstorms chasing anglers off the water. It reminded me of when I spent a summer fly fishing the West back in 1988 — in Colorado, thunderheads would brew up on a nearly daily basis, bringing lightning and downpours, which, for someone who had spent much of his life in the Sierra, seemed abundant on both counts.
Ah, but now we’re entering autumn. Labor Day has come and gone, and the multitudes of vacationers and tourists who double Truckee’s population have decamped. This isn’t to say that the waters here are now vacant of fly fishers. Our proximity to the Reno, Sacramento, and San Francisco–Oakland–San Jose metropolitan areas ensures that more than a few will head up the hill every weekend until snow again covers the roads. But it does mean that elsewhere in the Sierra and Cascades, we can expect to find even more of the solitude we seek to connect with the world of the wild.
A chill in the air, trout on the rise, cottonwood leaves drifting with the current, and campgrounds mostly empty: these are the months I especially enjoy being on the water. It’s perhaps a bittersweet pleasure, knowing winter will come soon enough, but often it’s at the end of things that one’s experience of them is most intense. These angling days of fall are days to savor. Pack up the car, not the closet.
Publisher and Editor