Everyday Before Sunrise Fishermen Wait for Salmon

Friday, October 7, 2016, 630 am, 50 degrees

newsunrise2When I left home, the air temperature was 50 degrees and the morning light was emerging from the east. By the time I park my car, the temperature had dropped to 49. Mist covered my car windows. Sunrise is scattered pinks and oranges as the sun shines through scattered clouds.

So far the roosters crowing to wake up the day are the only       living creatures I see moving. No cars or people moving.


Several cyclists pass me wearing red blinking lights that shine through the darkness before the light of dawn emerges. The first boats on the river sit in darkness with red lights blinking near the bridge. It is nearly too dark to write. My hands are chilled. Time to wear my jacket with gloves in the pockets. These morning temperatures are a long way from the 85 degree temperatures only a few weeks ago. I left the house at 630 wearing short sleeves and shorts without even checking the weather outside first.

At about 7 am, pigeons fly in under the bridge from the west. They appear to be responding to an internal clock corresponding to the air temperature and moment when the sunrises over the trees. They take their usual places on the upper bridge frame. This time they come with no music or grand entrance.

fishing boats, boats, Chinook salmon, Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, American RiverThe river is still today. Now six boats are lined up on the water waiting for their opportunities to catch roving Chinook Salmon. Airplanes fly over and leave glowing tails in the sky, marking it like giant cross stitches in the sky as the sun rises behind them.

The tiniest of birds has flown to its perch to say good morning –  sitting one of the tallest cross beams of the bridge. It calls, “Ti…Too. Ti…Too.” A few minutes later, the bird flies to another spot to greet anyone else who will listen.

Salmon jump up and then quickly down. I wonder if the fish is teasing the fishermen, “Come on and catch me! You better be quick!” I see the fish jumping again and again only 20 feet from one of the boats. No one has a fishing line in that direction.

Two ducks in a larger group are arguing on the south shore – Quack! Quack! Feathers flutters, water splashes, ducks     chase each other in circles squawking and quacking. I am not quick enough with my camera and miss capturing the          event on video.

I walk down the boat dock and carry bread with me today. Eighteen ducks jump for bread. No frenzy this time. They are behaving far move civilized and patient than other days.  When the group realize the bread is gone, ducks swim back to their places to continue morning grooming. Except for one in the back of the line who continues to complain with a “Quack! Quack!”  Two Canada Geese show up too late and scour the boat launch ramp for crumbs that were left behind.