Even in the best of weather, the mountain stream is to be respected. I began fly-fishing many years ago in the Deep South in ponds and small lakes. When I did wade I did so very carefully as I could rarely see the bottom. This wasn’t too scary as the water was not flowing. Mostly I had to remain wary of the hole or sudden slope of the bottom. I much prefer to wade the beautiful clear mountain stream. Even in perfect clarity I proceed cautiously.
A gallon of water weighs 8 1/3 lbs. and a cubic foot of water contains 7.4805 gallons and weighs 62 1/2 lbs. Put that in motion and you have something that demands respect. And I have to be careful to not allow clarity to build false confidence. Even though I can see the bottom, I have to consider what I see – rocks. There a lots of rocks of varying sizes all worn smooth by millenniums of movement. In some streams there are long, smooth rocks that can act like a greased slide at a sunken playground.
As you might imagine, and you would be correct, I don’t even consider wading the stream if I can’t see the bottom. The stream is often left cloudy, and even torrential, by a rain storm – but patiently give it some time and it soon returns to clarity.
Confidence of experience allows me to wade the stream when clear. Respect, and just plain common sense, keeps me out of it when the bottom disappears! And love of the stream sustains me while I wait for it to clear.