In Juneau, urban fishing means you’re going out to Wayside Park, right next to the fish hatchery, and hoping your giant treble hook snags the lone king salmon swimming among all the spawny pinks and chums on their way up the death ladder. Or you’re hoping for a pink that’s not nasty-spawny. Either way, it’s the kind of fishing that your well-bred, sportsmanship-minded outdoorsman tends to sneer at: It’s lazy fishing. I only eschewed it because snagging hooks terrify me. My version of lazy fishing was to go out to Sheep Creek just south of town, catch a few shiny dollies on a crocodile, and eat them within the hour.
Urban fishing in Madison is another story.People fishing on the Yahara River have the distinct air of urban fishermen. Cheap poles. Buckets. Big old pieces of bait. Their cars nearby.
Also nearby: my house. One block away, in fact.
The trouble is, I have never seen those fishermen hook or bring in a single fish. Also, if there are fish, I haven’t a clue what they bite here, other than worms. But in the true spirit of lazy fishing, I wasn’t planning to find a bait shop or ask any experts. I set out with my bicycle (less work than walking), my little casting reel and the few little spinners and spoons I hadn’t managed to lose in Canada eelgrass. This, friends, is what retirement is all about.
I’m no snob, which means even this little guy was headed for the frypan along with his equally indiscriminate and even tinier peer. But butter, garlic and parsley couldn’t counter a certain flavor: Yahara River muck. We ate them gamely.
“We’ve got to learn to catch trout,” said Wesley.
“Maybe you could make something where you can’t taste the fish so much,” he added. “Fish cakes?”
Perhaps we are a tad snobbish.