The disturbance got me watching the nearby shallows for further fish activity and sure enough, through polarized sunglasses, I was able to watch a nice-sized smallmouth bass prowl the nooks and crannies of a weed bed for potential prey.
A flurry of movement far upstream caught my eye. The river's surface appeared to shimmer, and with my poor eyesight I couldn't really tell what was going on - at least not until the large flock of Canada geese lifted off, turned downriver, settled into their trademark chevron-shaped flight formations, and came zooming toward me.
The gaggle flashed past, 30 yards offshore and 20 feet up, their ha-ronk, ha-ronk cries piercing the morning stillness. They skimmed over some rapids just downstream and disappeared around a bend.
Some ripples in the water caught my eye. Just offshore from the gravel bar, a triangular head poked through the surface.
I thought for a moment that I might get to see a snake swim ashore, but the head submerged and the ripples died away. Two or three minutes later, the head reappeared a little farther upstream, but disappeared just as quickly.
Only on its third appearance did I realize I'd been watching a turtle. It stayed about 15 feet offshore, popping to the surface every couple of minutes to breathe.
A truck pulling a boat came along and broke my wildlife-watching reverie. The driver was a fisherman, and after he backed his boat into the water the local critters laid low.
The experience, though, made me realize just how fortunate I am to have a job that allows me, from time to time, to sit on a hilltop or a riverbank and just - watch.
Here in West Virginia, nature is seldom more than a few steps away. The secret to seeing it is to stop walking and sit a spell.