Fly Fishing Out of a Dead End Life

By Steve B Howard | Steve B Howard | 12 Mar 2019

This river has at least three names, The White River (the most common name), the Black River (the old name), and the Stuck River (the most appropriate name considering where I’m fishing today). There are fish here, I can feel it. I’m fly fishing for Steelhead, a difficult fish to catch on a fly rod. And conditions on the river today are not ideal. Heavy October rain storms hung over the Cascades the night before, so the river is running a little high and off color. I should be focused on the drift of my fly, a heavily weighted flashy Steelhead fly, but instead I’m thinking about the dumpy looking trailer park on the other side of the river. I lived there when I was a kid.

muddy currents through
the brain cloud up the lens of

I cast out into the middle of the river into a slow back eddy hoping maybe the sluggish current out there will slow my fly down a little and put it in front of a fish. Sluggish memories as dark and off color as the river rise up as well:

an argument between 15 year old boys about a girl, a hunting knife drawn, my friend loses a lung, another friend, drunk tries to cross the railroad tracks and is killed by a train, and yet another friend, this death delayed, dies of a heart-attack at 38 years old, mostly likely from shooting crystal meth and smoking cigarettes as a teenager.

Suddenly, my fly jolts to a stop and then begins a fast run downstream. A fish! And a big one, 12 pounds at least I judge by its size once I land it. After I revive it in the river I let it swim away back into the current and depths. Some good things come out of this ugly river and the morbid trailer park behind it. I made it out. 
spawn only if you
don’t become food
for bears first


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Steve B Howard
Steve B Howard

I'm a semi-pro spewer of sometimes interesting sounding gibberish. I write a lot of different stuff including poetry, haiku, haibun, flash fiction, short stories, and essays.

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