I hoped there might be some trout in this pool. I have been pursuing the ghost of a brookie here for a month, looking again for that dark sided trout that I swear I saw for an instant a month ago. I hoped the ice covering might make the fish less skittish. The open water in this pool was barely wider than my shoulders, and it wasn’t more than 2 body lengths long. Not much room to search for this fish.
The water hurt. It stung my lips and the small part of my neck that falls between my hood and drysuit gasket. Shelf ice grew out from the shore to the edge where the current flows just a little too fast to allow ice to form, which makes it difficult to peek into the recesses of undercut boulders. The scalloped silvery ice reflected the scalloped sandy bottom. A few leaves and twigs were stuck. Iced bubbles looked like pools of mercury. The water was perfectly clear, so clear that the only way I knew I was under water was because I was wet and weightless. Ice sculptures hung down into the water from the sheet and looked aquamarine in the distance.
I did a few duck unders, where I probed beneath the ice sheet, backed out, got a breath and did it again. Maybe I made too much noise as I walked over the ice to the edge of the open hole and the fish long scattered. Maybe the water finally got cold enough that they have found good hiding places where they will stay for the remainder of the cold. Either way, there weren’t any fish to see here today. But there was an amazing winterscape under the cold gin clear water.