Runoff. Somehow the word is far too mild, not gutteral enough, to express my loathing.Can we just agree to call it turd soup? The riparian version of a south of the border bout of Montezuma’s Revenge?


You could, theoretically, hike into the high country and be satisfied with small but fiesty natives in fairly clear headwaters, but a hike is all it would be –the tribs are closed right now. That leaves lakes. Which are all well and good, but a day likely spent laconically floating around, drinking more beer than catching, compared to actively hiking up banks of moving water, working riffles, plying seams, calculating drop-offs…well, no need to break it down any further than that. I think back to past winters of minimal snow, and the vacant, twitchy look in the eyes of my ski bum comrades. Runoff is my No Snow.

I decide to swing by the co-op, sometimes they have a decent lunch special. Of course, the price I pay is being surrounded by lots of groovy people, and I’m in a decidedly un-groovy humor right now. Get up to the soup bar,  and find today’s offering  is “Veggie Leek Stew.” I gaze down into a suspicious cauldron of thick, dark-green goulash, punctuated by all sorts of vegetable matter. The similarity to what the South Fork looks like at the moment is uncanny, and painful parallels between recent attempts at fishing and trying to find any meat in this concoction are more than I can stomach. I peel out of line, hold my breath through the hemp cloud and head downtown in search of a hamburger.

Bruce Smithhammer
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