It's hard to come by these days, particularly on the large scale. So I've learned to love it in tiny pieces when it comes. Saturday I finally got my fishing license for this season. Yesterday afternoon I joined Steve and some of his family sitting along the banks of the St. Croix River to drown some worms.
We'd all been hearing about the great fishing once water levels dropped from this wet spring and early summer. That meant the shore along a public access south of Taylors Falls was exposed, allowing one to drive down the ramp and park next to the water so those with wobbly legs can have a very short walk to set up a chair along the shore, along with all the tackle, poles, coolers, etc. There's plenty of parking back along the top of the ramp once the car is unloaded, if you want to avoid the National Park Rangers who chase cars off the shore after a quick license check. Having one fisherman along with sturdy legs is a bonus.
Once set up, there's plenty of watching to do. There's people, boat and dog watching, particularly on nice-weather weekends, as this is a popular landing. The most interesting was a homemade catamaran rigged with two canoes and platform pieces across the top, graced with deck chairs, and one adorable Westie in a life jacket with a carry handle on top. Most of those arriving for pullout late afternoon had the sense and courtesy to pull in on the other side from us, but one set of kayakers pulled up to shore right next to us after cutting across our lines. We thought we had set up way out of the traffic lanes, but there are always idiots out there.
There's plenty of bird watching, including herons, turkey vultures, osprey and eagles, along with smaller birds defying identification. A barred owl could be heard across the river along with local dogs. Had we stayed later, coyotes would have been likely.
The riverboat out of Taylors Falls passes by but stays on the far side of the river in deeper water.
And of course, there are the fish. Red horse suckers, channel cats, and bluegills got hooked on our rigs yesterday. The previous night's fishing also brought in small sturgeon. By reports, all Saturday night's fish were much larger than anything caught Sunday - but that's always the way with fish tales. I wouldn't dream of suggesting there was any exaggeration going on, but the one picture I did see was fish, line, and background, with absolutely nothing to show scale.
A couple peaceful turtles hung out for a closer look, one tiny, and one huge and close enough to see the top of its shell emerging from the water and a detailed look at the texture of whatever was growing on it, while the standing members of the group got a good look at the submerged portions.
So with all that activity, you might be wondering where was the peace? It was in the pleasant weather, the shade on our side of the river slowly stretching across and up the trees on the opposite bank, the silence between boaters, the reflections in the gently flowing water, the sunset colors in a few clouds obligingly showing up for the occasion, the nearly full moon rising behind the trees, and the great company.