I felt my temper flare just slightly. My oars dug a little deeper, my raft pushed a little faster, and my polite smile began to look forced. My dog Colby just slunk behind me in hopes that we would be back to our homestretch soon.
It was September on the Bulkley River, and I was technically the new kid in town. As I rowed past anglers who’d launched earlier in the morning than I had, they picked up their pace with the assumption that the over-anxious angler pushing by them was in a hurry to “poach” their upcoming water. Hell, I just wanted to go home.
I counted fifty boats that afternoon. More than that, there was a person at the head of every run, anglers forced into spots that don’t hold fish, illegal guides chucking spoons, and illegal guides chucking flies who still had the nerve to frown upon the gear guys. Not a single one of these guys was smiling. Myself included. As heads turned toward the sound of my rapid rowing, I soon tired of explaining my intentions. Instead, I wished for a fluorescent sign tacked to the front of my boat reading “done for the day (and forever if it stays this way).”