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My Date with the Dungy

  • Date Submitted: 04/03/2014 03:21 PM
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Ann Jagger




My Date with the Dungy



      I like to fish. Simple as that sounds, my experience with fishing is anything but simple

and it really has only a bit to do with fishing at all. The experience for me is transformative. As a

philosopher unjustly imprisoned but sitting impassively in his cell with a smile on his face I

spend my work week in expectation of my fishing day. Through transcendental meditation I go

to my favorite spot on the river several times a week. I can smell the dead leaves, I can see the

small bubbles filter up through the gin clear water as it cascades into a plunge pool. I am

exhilarated by the smells and sounds of the forest. Then it is time to get back to work, time to

clean another bathroom, find socks for another kid, do another math problem. Sunday can’t

come quick enough because that’s the day I have a date with the Dungeness. I love to fish. I

really do.

      The Dungeness River is an incredibly unique resource. I have hiked to its source high in

the Olympic Mountains. It is here in the Alpine Zone in the shadow of Mt. Deception that the

Dungeness River begins its 32 mile plunge to the ocean. The river changes dramatically with

the seasons. The average mean flow is 380 cubic feet per second but the river has flowed with

as much volume as 7120 cubic feet per second (Piety, L.A.; Randle, T.J.; Bountry, J.A.; Link.)

With this much change it is amazing that such a volatile environment supports runs of

anadromous fish, as well as maintaining an incredible resident population of several species of

trout. Yet it does.   Last year the biggest run of pink salmon since 1963 swam up the Dungeness

(Peninsula Daily News). The river also supports populations of Chinook, Coho, and Chum

salmon. There are also runs of steelhead in both the summer and winter. Anadromous fish are not

what I am after, however it is a great sign of a healthy ecosystem that they exist here....

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