Lately someone asked me when it was ever going to stop raining.
If I could predict the weather do you think I’d waste my time as a wilderness gossip columnist? No,
Predicting the weather is a highly technical inexact science that uses the most modern satellite, radar and computer modeling to forecast the weather up to six hours in advance while only being wrong about half of the time.
Predicting the weather is a tough job.
What other profession would allow you to keep your job when you’re wrong half of the time, except for columnists or fishing guides, I mean.
Predicting the weather can be an important tool for a fishing guide. Like the ability to smell money or levitate a half a ton of soggy humans over a gravel bar, you have to be able to predict the weather to be a fishing guide.
Inquiring minds want to know what the weather will be like on their fishing trips, even if it is months in the future. This is not a problem for someone who has been in the business as long as I have. I always predict rain in my long-range forecast.
It’s a safe bet around here and that way people are never disappointed when I am wrong. It happens.
Fishing can be best when the river is dropping after a high water. Precipitation and freezing levels affect the river’s height. For example, this week’s combination of a half a foot of rain and 7,000-foot freezing levels pumped the Hoh River from 3,000 to 29,000 cubic feet of water per second in a day.
Dry, cold weather can make the river drop back down almost as fast and that’s when you want to be fishing.
This is the season we catch the native steelhead. They are the biggest steelhead of the year. How big are they? So huge they have tried to spawn with my boat.
Everyone wants to know when we can get back out on the river and catch one of these dinosaur trout. That depends on the weather. I rely on the Canadian weather report, which depending on your location is sometimes available on your weather radio.
Just lucky for me I know how to speak Canadian, eh? The first thing you need to know about speaking Canadian is that half of it is in French, which I don’t speak. Even if the Canadian weather radio wasn’t speaking French they can still be tough to figure out.
Canadians have funny names for things. Wind wave and swell height is given in knots, kilometers and meters. Temperatures are in Celsius. Rain accumulations are in centimeters. Air pressure is given in something called a “Kilo-Pascal” and Canadians have funny names for places like, where the heck is Cape Mudge?
Listening to the Canadian weather report is like an adventure to another planet. One of the announcers describes the wind, wave and swell heights in an embedded sharp surfaced trough with a voice that sounds like she’s narrating a porn tape.
Out on the river we call her “Miss Swell Height.”
I’ve seen fishing guides violently exhibit their emotional feelings for Miss Swell Height once she starts talking in French.
It is entirely possible to listen to the Canadian weather report for hours and have no idea what the weather will be.
For a real time weather report we often must rely on something called a local observations, so here it is:
The rain will stop. We will fish again.