STRAY CASTS: Chocolate soup and other bad fishing dreams coming true

The Stray Caster got wet on the weekend.

First, it was at the Minto Redneck Games, and then it was at the Fergus Scottish Fes­tival and Highland Games. The only reason there were no com­plaints about having to work all weekend when the salmon are supposed to be running is the water was so dirty it would have taken a bait the size of a tackle box just so a fish could see it.

The Stray Caster is not the best at flinging a line any great distance in the first place, so the need to cast that size of bait  was one he was easily willing to forego.

But he did drop into a couple of tackle stores over the course of the week, and the consensus was pretty much the same. Grand River: Dirty brown. Bighead River; filthy dirty. Maitland River: Dirty. Beaver River: Filthy dirty.

The rain that has fallen on Southwestern Ontario seem­ing­ly forever has seen to that. One fellow asked about the mighty Saugeen River. Another cus­tomer replied, “Chocolate soup.” And that’s a river with a rocky bottom, but its tribs bring in lots of muddy runoff.

The Stray Caster, who has taken to dryly (under cover, as it were) commenting that “It’s raining for a change” does take a little hope from all this muddy water.

First of all, there are very few anglers out on streams, so there are very few fish being caught. That leaves a few for him once the water does finally clear.

Secondly, fish are likely sulking on the bottoms and not very active. When the water fin­al­ly clears to a soft cloudi­ness that anglers love for catch­ing trout and salmon, the chances are good that the trout and salmon are very likely to be very hungry, and thus easier to catch.

Finally, there will be none of this staging business at the mouths of rivers this year. Sal­mon in particular, usually sit around the mouth of the harbour and wait for a nice rain (with its consequent higher river) to call them in to spawn. Since the harbour is dirty, they are unlikely to get caught (you can’t hit what you can’t see). They are also able to enter the river fully confident that it is high enough to offer protection. The only down­side, it seems, is that many salmon might have already headed in, spawned, and died.

Still, that would allow for an excellent year class four years from now when the descendants return.

But what is a Stray Caster to do when the pools in his back yard (where the grass is starting to reach the height of a small forest) are as likely to produce fish as area rivers?

Actually, it is quite simple. He can plot.

One of the first steps was to contact old fishin’ buddy Wally Ward, asking how soon the wall in Meaford can be tackled.

Wally replied that it is starting to feel like fall (the Stray Caster likes to hear that), and it will likely be very soon.

That means the Stray Caster will have to soon get off his duff, dig out all his salmon spoons and take a hook hone to them, clean up his 12-foot rod, and, of course, respool his fishing line. He has lots of leader material.  Notwith­standing (as the bureaucrats say) that many salmon have already gone upstream, The Stray Caster hopes to catch at least a few stragglers and late runners.

Finally, it might be good to check out that ugly noise com­ing from his car, because getting stranded on a fishing trip is the last thing anyone wants.

And then, of course, it is into trout season. The Stray Caster has already noted that there is still some spawn left in the freezer section of our refrigerator (Mrs. Stray Caster is a very tolerant lady), but we have yet to check on our flies or our floats. Rainy season should be busy season for all anglers, particularly since they can’t mow their lawns, either.

We can’t wait for the fishing part of the season to start.