THE URGENCY OF THE FALL

Written by Bob Melrose.

As fall approaches a sense of urgency overcomes us. We love the fall for its pleasant days and cool nights, no annoying bugs, glorious colours, fewer people on the fields and streams. But, we also know that could change overnight with the harsh reality of the cold and snow. The diminishing daylight warns us that time is finite and the clock is ticking. What we don't do now may never get done. 

For many of us it is also a time when the mind throws these flashback scenes at you. Some mornings trigger a memory of waving fields of grain with a ring-necked rooster rising cackling from the cattail edges. Other mornings I can hear the wind spilling off the mallards, pintail and widgeon dropping into the decoys. Or the image of that 8 point elk in Ruby Creek whose antlers scraped his butt as he bugled his challenge through the basin. That morning of the "leaf fall" on the Bulkley when the leaves were coming off in bushel baskets and every cast meant cleaning the fly of the annoying pluck of the of the cottonwood leaves, except this was a good buck.

Fall has a habit of throwing past visions at you. Perhaps it is a way for nature to remind us that time is fleeting and to make the most of each day. Whatever your outdoor passion is just do it. Fall is too short to waste on "woulda. coulda, shouda" thinking. How many falls have you told yourself you should have taken your favourite hike shuffling along in the leaves and didn't? How many times did you want a picture of those beautiful colours and just didn't get around to it? How many times did you think about that last trip to your fishing hole that never happened?

Fall is full of memories for a reason, to sustain us through a long winter. Fall is when the fishing can be the best it has been all year. Fish also feel the impending winter and can feed voraciously to fatten up for the upcoming cold. And the fish are far less selective, no more trying to match those very finicky appetites, they more readily accept any offering of food. Water temperatures have cooled down and fish are comfortable near the surface. Chironimids, dragons, shrimp, damsels and leeches are all welcome as are small spoons and spinners. The Char family, eastern brook, dollies and Lake Trout will be found near rocky reefs and in their beauty fall colours.

Steelhead and Coho are in our rivers in above decade average numbers and worth a try. The northern or fall Coho are now being taken in the Kitimat, Skeena and Nass System into the 20 pound (9 kilogram) mark. Last chance for a salmon for the barbie. Steelhead are catch and release and we are home to the biggest Steelhead in the world with fish already taken in the 30+ pound range (13.5 Kilos).

If your passion is hunting the first good frost in September usually signals the start of the moose rut. Soon the lonely grunts of the bulls will ring the valleys and straining to hear the lovesick moan of the cows and the call to dance. The bull elk will bugle that incredible call to all comers that he is the one. The buck deer will be polishing his horns for the combat he knows will soon start. The Ruffed, Spruce and Blue Grouse are ready to scare the hell out of you as they thunder away from you, more often heard but not seen.

The loons are amassing on our lakes in readiness for flights south to warmer climes. Ducks and geese fattening up in our fields and streams, building muscle before the long flights. The hillsides are alive with colour shouting look at me before I turn plain and lifeless.

Fall begs to be experienced fully with every deep breath, every picture, each step, each turn, each cast, every moment. Too soon gone.