FISHING -- “Because I’m stupid,” said Dave Morrow, anticipating the question.
The angler had no better reason than that for leaving his warm house in Spokane during the recent cold snap. The temperature was minus 7 degrees when he, and his son Jeremy, left town and drove to the Snake River to cast from shore for steelhead.
The steelhead that came upstream from the ocean last fall are holed up in the deeper water waiting for their biological clocks and river conditions to tell them it’s getting toward spring and time to move upstream into tributaries to spawn.
The Morrows were among five anglers at Wawawai Landing that morning at 9 a.m. Jeremy had just lost a steelhead that broke him off as he tried to avoid slipping and falling on the clear-ice-coated riprap rocks along the boat basin.
“That’s the only bite we’ve had,” Dave said, smiling in his hunter-orange camo overalls.
“I’ve been filleting the big steelhead my neighbor’s been catching here so I thought I’d come down and catch some of my own. I didn’t think about the temperature.”
“Last time he was down here he caught a 10-pounder on the first cast. Then a 13-pounder.”
But the bite had yet to occur for the Morrows.
“It’s a little hard to keep the ice out of your rod guides and other things thawed out,” Jeremy said, his breath steaming in the chill.
Asked if his neighbor came down to show them how it’s done, Dave said, “No, he stayed home this time. He’s the smart one.”
A few days later, the boat basin was frozen over with ice extending across the river, deterring others from such a lapse in regard to their comfort.