If one has to die, I should think November would be the best month for it. It is a gray, stormy month; the salmon are dying, and the year is done. I should think there is nothing very bad about dying except for the people one has to leave and the things one hasn’t had time to do. When the time comes, if I know what it’s all about, I suppose I shall think, among other things, of the fish I haven’t caught and the places I haven’t fished… -Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never Sleeps
November is a tough month for the fly fisherman in Washington. There are still summer steelhead in many of the eastside rivers and the early push of winter-run fish begin entering the coastal rivers late in the month. However, the changing weather is generally bad with big storms sweeping down from the Gulf of Alaska bringing cold and snow, or maybe even worse, the dreaded Pineapple Express driving multiple days of warm rains and muddy flooded rivers. Short days and daylight-savings-time compound things with 9-5′ers facing a workday bookended by dark, wet commutes. Still… there can be magical moments in November. My largest sea-run cutthroat, a 20″ buck was caught on a brisk day in early November. The key is to be flexible and act fast without doubt. Windows of opportunity are brief and must be seized immediately.
Truth be told, I don’t do to much ‘seizing’ in November. Mid-month brings the start of high school wrestling season which dominates my non-work time through February. My limited fishing days never seem to coincide with decent weather or river flows so I tie a lot of flies, read books and dream…
After almost 9mos of rehab and training due to ACL reconstruction surgery, Aika started wrestling full-speed earlier this month. A little rusty at first, she quickly got her timing back and with the increase in strength/stamina gained through all the months of tough workouts, she’s actually better than she was before the injury. Lately, in addition to drill sessions at home and normal high school practices, she’s been rolling with Lisa Ward-Ellis on the weekends at Lisa’s gym, United Training Center outside Olympia. Lisa was a college wrestler and is now a 3X FILA grappling world champion and professional MMA fighter. Being able to test herself against another woman as strong as Lisa has been a great help for Aika as she works toward a state championship title and a spot on a college team next year.