Having reached more than 3 weeks since the close of the standard fishing season, a good friend of mine asked me, yesterday, how I was holding up.
“Stir crazy,” I believe my response was.
He pointed out, quite rightly, that if one heads South, you will run into places where fishing still happens…even after Washington says it is generally done.
Apart from the fact that my friends really do know how much of a fly fishing … junkie? … I am, this also had me pondering a few other points.
First, I believe I have become what can best be described as a “trout snob,” although for very specific reasons, which may (or may not) make it at least semi-acceptable. I love the sip of a dry fly from the surface film, in open waters, more than any other kind of fishing. It is almost like you get to have a dialog with the river, the fish, and the surrounding nature, where it is not just talking with yourself in their presence. Notice: not just. The connection is exhilarating and sometimes breathtaking. I just don’t get that from other kinds of fishing, usually. There was one time, on a section of the John Day, in Northern Oregon, where I was with two buddies and we were going after Smallmouth Bass. I ended up on a rocky rise (read as: sheer drop of 15’+) overlooking a part of the river that was littered with rocks.
(OK…that’s not the actual spot, but the rise on the left is very much like where I was standing)
My back cast had to be up at a 45-degree angle, and the final shoot sending out enough line so that the Wooley Bugger landed a full 25′ from shore. I would then strip it in, zigzagging and watching the smallmouths chase it, until one got interested enough to take it. Once hooked, I had to raise them out of the water and swing my rod to the right, to hang the fish over the edge so my buddies could take the fish off, from their lower section of the river’s edge. Why was that the exception case that comes to mind? Because it, like a take in the surface film, has a strong visual component that adds to the overall experience. For some reason, I just cannot get excited about a bobber disappearing under the film, just like nymphing continues to elude me, as I invest almost no time to practicing it. I think what I am trying to say is that trout fishing, specifically by dry fly, ticks too many of my favorite boxes, and sets a very high bar for other modes of fishing to try to match.
Second, trout really are just plain pretty fish. Although I am highly partial to Rainbow/Cutthroat, other types are also beautiful, to me.
I’ve caught a lot of other kinds of fish, in my life, and many of them look like “food” but not something of which I would necessarily take a picture. I do like the look of Pike, as well, but have not caught them in a long time (and not on Fly gear). Maybe that’s an avenue to developing an interest in something other than dry fly fishing….hmmmm.
The final thought is, as it has been each winter since I began down this path, how to make it through the 180 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes, 34 seconds until the next season starts?
Fly tying (although I am behind pace, due to added workload, this year)
Pre-planning and campground scouting. (This was from last Feb, but I am already looking for what campsite to book for opening day of the next year), and reading…a lot of reading.
I think the final piece, which really helps me survive the time when one has to go from “flyfisher” to “flywisher” is to remember that my buddies are going through the same thing! We can always talk about what we did, last season, or what we will do, this coming season.
Now 180 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes, 22 seconds…but who’s counting?