Grace

Grace is defined as: Simple, Elegant or Refinement of Movement.

Grace is something that, for me, has been lost in modern fly fishing.  When every rod built today is all about speed, power, and hauling massive amounts of line in the air to target some exotic species in a foreign country, or to just make oneself look cool grace is not part of the equation.  The boys club culture that tends to form in a male dominated sport also leaves little room for grace when ego, pissing contests, and general bro-like properties run rampant during fishing adventures.  It’s hard to be graceful when you’re intoxicated…just saying.

Now…do I hoot and holla!  Do I get excited…yes…more than most people out here I would say.  But there is a time and place for that.  It’s typically before or after the fish is hooked.  Do I still curse trout that won’t eat, lose my cool, get overly excited with big trout…well ya…I’m mean there’s always gonna be that energy with me.  But I do have Grace, on days off, solo days, days with my children, and certain days with clients and friends that are looking for that more low key, less intense, more subtle kind of day on the river.

It took me years to find even a little Grace as an angler.  Grace does not just show up.  It must be learned, and it comes with experience, not only casting thousands upon thousands of times, but also experience with wary and wild trout that demand respect and perfect presentation.  After thousands of refusals because your cast and presentation were off by the most minuscule thing…only then does Grace begin to develop.  You start to learn that the fish demands it.  Simple, elegant, and perfect.  In my experience, the most respectable trout are tricked when Grace is a key element of the equation.  A trout that requires perfection…is by my trout logic…the perfect trout…no matter the size or species…if the only way to trick it with a fly is to do it perfectly, then it is the perfect trout.  It also requires an anglers ability to create that perfect moment between angler and trout, and in my experience both as an angler and a guide…Grace must be present for perfection.

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Grace was needed for this trout.

An anglers ability to change their attitude and demeanor and find Grace in the presence of these…perfect trout…will lead to more success in the encounters.  At least…that’s what I have found.  It typically takes me a little bit to get there and I have to take a few deep breaths and simmer down, I am an adrenaline junky at heart.  So when I get it in my system when the perfect trout presents itself…I lose my shit a little bit.  But these trout usually give you one or two shots to trick them.  They are perfect for a reason.  Could be the size, could be the species, for me…its the perfect moment.  Fly Fishing is filled with these amazingly perfect moments between human, nature, and wild animal.  There are these times in fly fishing when everything just syncs up…and the fish eats the fly, the angler counters, the fish yields, and the moment between angler and trout is sealed with a release back to the natural order of things.  Its my prayer, when I feel anything that is sort of spiritual if you will.  These moments that I have experienced as angler and observing anglers…are always filled with Grace.

I see Grace from anglers from time to time.  Typically in the older generation clients that I fish with.  Such as Lou, who is one of the only anglers I know that can make a Sage One 6wt. look graceful.  Or when my fishing partner Ross simmers his cast down after the first hour or two of our floats and he begins to smoothly sling casts through the air and gently land them on target.  Or when I myself can feel the rod load slowly behind me, and as I bring it forward its like my whole body clicks into place, or shifts into gear, and it’s as if the loop in the air is just an extension of my arm as I lightly place a dry fly at the top of the drift.  You can feel Grace, its that juicy part of the cast that makes ya feel good, calming, but intense.

I was witness to Grace this weekend.  I had the pleasure of with fishing with an amazing group of people for two days this weekend while putting on an F3T event to benefit our local TU Chapter.  One of those anglers is someone I look up to as an angler and teacher of fly fishing.  Molly Semenik, is an amazing angler and teacher.  I learned a lot from her during a clinic a few years back where I also had the privilege to work alongside her teaching casting to new anglers.  Her methods, her demeanor, her enthusiasm, and her attention to detail are everything you could ever want out of a teacher.  I was incredibly intimidated to work with her.  Her name was familiar to me at the time, and her reputation in the angling community was something I knew of.  Everything from her use of props to assist in teaching anglers, to how fish fight, to the ease in which she explained and demonstrated how to achieve the casts were second to none in my experience.  Her cast is precise, methodical, thought out, and elegant.  Like my mentors cast.  A cast I strive for every time cork touches my hand.  I learned so much from her during the clinic and apply many of the lessons and skills learned for both casting and teaching with my clients in my guide operation.

I had the opportunity to fish with Molly this past weekend for a few hours on the Cle Elum.  Absolutely nerve racking hanging riverside with Molly!  I couldn’t believe I was getting to fish with her.  I almost left my fly rod in the car because I didn’t want to cast in front of her.  I hung back while Molly and J. Michelle fished.  J. Michelle who also accompanied us is an absolute blast to be with both on and off the water.  I look forward to more days chasing fish and memories with J. Michelle this season.  I watched the two anglers fish and took photos as Molly threw casts in between trees and dropped them into position.  But it wasn’t until later in the afternoon that things got silly.  Many have seen the photos of the large Brown Trout that we met that afternoon, many have seen the video of the whole ordeal.  But it was the stuff before and after the event that really stuck with me…well…except when that greasy slab of buttery brown trout ate the shit out that purple chubby size 10 Molly slung over its head…ya…that is seared in my trouty brain forever.

We were sitting eating lunch chatting about the things anglers chat about.  I touched on my plans in conservation personally and the whys and hows of getting to where I was.  Some fishing stories were swapped, but then this trout kept rising off the seam, river right just up from us.  I watched it rise a handful of times aggressively while we ate.  I get this itch, like the damn thing is teasing me, this need to go and remind this fish that if its gonna show its face….around here…there’s a high chance its gonna get tricked.  We all noticed the fish at this point.  And I could sense that everyone else was starting to feel the same itch I was.  Molly had the right bug on, and I wanted her to catch a fish.  So I told her that it was her trout.

As she walked down and set up on the trout she was slow and watchful.  The trout decided to put on a show and came full out of the water on an insect and we saw its immensity and everyone lost their shit…except Molly.  She told me to calm down at least 4 times as I made my way down to the river so I could see…the guide in me getting the best of me, and a trout that size…it was gonna be good no matter what happened and I wanted a front row seat.  We discussed the position and she cast.  This is when the video cuts in.  The film starts right as she starts her second cast.

Watch the video, its sweet.  But I am going to describe it the way I saw it.

There was power, as the line lifted of the water, the back cast extended but its was effortless, and I mean effortless.  But it cut the air like a sickle, it was light but powerful.  The cast was quick, precise, simple, and elegant….it was Graceful, as graceful as the women slinging it.  A casts does not need to be flashy, it is not for the angler…it is for the fish, and watching Molly cast instilled that belief in me that much more.  It reminds the younger less experienced angler in me that a cast done perfectly once…will typically trick the fish.  The first cast tricked the fish so much it moved 5 feet down river tracking the fly before it got drag and the fish still went for it but Molly had already started her recast.  The next cast…three false casts, the delivery, Molly’s elbow lift and flick of the rod tip to mend the line, which by the way is unique to Molly.  Everyone has a thing about their cast that makes it there own.  Like a fingerprint.  Molly flicks her elbow and rod tip very aggressively but with perfect control when she mends.  It gives the cast flavor as I like to say.  You can see it in the video.  We both think the drift is off but the fish had moved out of its original position and as the fly approached the trout was already tracking it.

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Cle Elum River Brown Trout, a very, very, rare encounter.

I mean, to some it may not look like much of a cast because it’s not 60 feet, its not after a bonefish with the ocean in the backdrop.  No, its a short 30 footer maybe, with a reach and a mend across the river to the other side from a down stream angle.  Set up perfectly to the quarry.  A quintessential trout cast.  Perfect…and the trout was fooled instantly.  When Molly set the hook…the fish had no chance, everything was in sync and perfect…I mean…as perfect as it gets people!  I mean watch it…how could you not wanna be there!  The fish eats, and then she sets, insuring a perfect hook set.

Molly had all the advantage in her position.  The trout was played perfectly, it stayed downstream the entire time and every time the trout made a move, Molly made an effective counter move, the battle was just as elegant a dance an angler and trout could have.  Aside from my net dancing of course.  Molly was intense the entire time, the fish was amazing, not only in its fight and size, but because it was not a species we were expecting.  A Brown Trout, to which we all were amazed by and I won $5 from J. Michelle betting on Brown.

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Molly Semenik with an amazing Brown Trout

After releasing the trout, the cool down was pretty fun, the immediate talking and dissecting of the entire encounter…trout nerds.  With another fish rising not long after I was up, and let me tell you, having Molly and J. Michelle watch me cast to fish was totally tripping me out.  A mixture of stoke on a whole other level and intimidation like I have never felt in this sport.  But to be able to fish with them was an experience.  To be a part of catching such a memorable fish, to be able to net and introduce Molly Semenik to a rare Brown Trout here in the Yakima River Basin, and one of that size, on a dry fly, I mean….shit….what else is there?  Getting to ‘guide’ an angler and teacher you look up to as an angler, just for that one fish…that was enough…and to have her want to book a real trip with me later in the year…made my heart skip like when a big ass brown trout smacks your fly dudes.  I’ll count the days until I am able to be riverside again with such an angler.  One as Graceful as I have ever had the pleasure of fishing with.  I mean…Molly even says “Shit!” gracefully when a trout gets squirrley on her.

 

That’s what its all about people.  Those moments you share over trout.  So much can happen in those moments.  Things to learn, to enjoy, to just bare witness to.  Fly Fishing is still one of the only activities that has this strange and unique ability to connect people, rivers, and the trout that call them home.  To be able to experience these places with anglers that have Grace makes them that much more enjoyable for me.  An angler with Grace, to me, is the epitome of a trout fly angler…something I strive for in my abilities as an angler, a guide, and a teacher.  To be able to cast, play, and land trout with Grace…that is a skill I can always strive for as I chase trout.  To be able to see it and learn from it only makes me want to chase it that much more.

 

The river is in shape…Let Go Chase Some Trout!

 

Tamarack

A Testament to A Good Angling Partner

 

A good fishing partner is something that can be monumental in an anglers life.  When I first started chasin trout I was selfish in my endeavors.  In my early years of angling I spent all my time solo.  Discovering and exploring every blue line and running water way I could find from valley to mountain peak.  I searched out the sources of my beloved rivers, hiked miles and miles, bushwhacked and cut trail to forgotten and unnamed streams and creeks.  Nothing but a box of flies, a cheap fly rod, and an insatiable hunger for all things trout and wild.

It wasn’t until I had fished myself silly and I got a little older that my solo time on rivers and with trout became a lonely adventure.  I had kids at home that were too young to chase trout with me, being very young with kids left little room for friends, especially when I spent all my free time fishing.  I recall even back then when I was in college and working the 9-5 to pay for shit that the few people I did know through angling were always too busy to keep up with my appetite for rivers and trout.  A good angling partner is not easy to find.  There is always someone ready to go fish…but just taking someone for a float or hiking into secret waters isn’t what I was looking for.  Yes I wanted another angler, with fresh eyes, different instincts, someone who matched or exceeded my own technical and physical skills to chase trout.  But damnit…I needed a friend and a person that had passion and respect for rivers that was in line with mine.

I’ve mentored anglers, fished with people and friends, but interests change, life takes people away from the river.  I’ve shown my secrets to some…only to have it bite me in the ass later.  Nothing worse than showing an angler a treasured spot that is still secret or ‘locals only’ and to find them guiding in it or talking too much about it at the local shop and causing it to lose it’s luster.  I still keep a lot of places close to the chest.  Areas that I still only visit solo…some places I haven’t seen in years over fear that they will be discovered by others and parts of me are still not ready to let them go.  Not many of those places are left for me…but a few.

My pursuit of a good angling partner came about as I began guiding more.  Meeting new people everyday, many of them lifelong angling partners, some married couples that have fished for decades, college friends that chased trout together in between classes, river side acquaintances that turned into life long trout aficionados.  I wanted that.  The chemistry angling partners have is a unique and interesting connection, as different and as varied as the people that frequent my driftboat.  It wasn’t until I had been fishing for almost 10 years that I found a fellow angler that shared in my interests, skill, and passion, for these wild aquatic animals and the places they frequent.

I shared a brief time with Casey, we fished almost everyday I wasn’t guiding.  Exploring the high reaches and rapids of the mountain rivers, floating the big water tricking trout, discovering more about each other both as anglers and people every time we ventured out.  Tying sessions at the house, dinners with the family, always talking trout and life.  That connection to the person formed over the catching and releasing of trout.  Learning about another person, where they come from, their perspective on life, where their passion is rooted, the desire to chase trout and why it is so fervent in them.  Those intricate things that tie a person to a river, and to the others that are woven into the riffles and runs are the part of angling that is lost when fly fishing is a job; and something that I was very grateful to have found with Casey.

I lost my angling partner to suicide.  A veteran, and man who suffered from intense PTSD, angling and sharing the river with me was his cure, his coping mechanism, the thing that allowed him to lose himself in the waters and disconnect him from the events in his life that brought sorrow and pain.  I miss him everyday.  I still have not visited a particular section of river in the mountains since his passing because of fear I will disrupt his memory.   Every now and then I hear his boisterous cackle of a laugh over the sound of our favorite riffle “Drake Alley” on the Upper Yakima and I catch myself looking behind me every time I float by.  Like the large wild trout that makes your heart sink when it frees itself from your fly and severs that connection, I still feel that phantom tug in my arm.  Haunting…but I feel privileged to have been introduced and spent however short amount of time with Casey riverside.  It changed me, had a profound effect on me and left me with questions, doubt, anger, sorrow, and a new sense of loneliness and longing that I had never felt before.

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I spent some time solo fishing again…wishing I was sharing these fish and places with another.  I threw myself into angling and tying throughout the off season.  The void left by losing Casey filled me with emotions and loss that I had never felt before.  A lot is shared riverside between two people.  Something that is hard to explain to those that haven’t shared a river with others.  He was my brother, uncle to my kids, someone I talked to everyday.  And not being able to share life on and off river with him was and is super shitty.  As the season after his passing approached I focused all my attention on honing my skills further as a guide and angler.  I worked constantly, spent every free minute I had wrapped up in trout and rivers.  My work doubled that season, and I was fortunate to meet a fellow angler through my work that sought me out as their angling partner.

As many who follow me on social media or have seen me on a guide’s day off recently riverside, Ross and I fish a lot together.  And while you never replace the people you lose, somehow the universe puts people in your life that just need to be there.  I must have done something good in my previous life, or have stacked up karma points, because I have been fortunate to have people in my life that share a passion for trout and rivers.  Sometimes the river presents an opportunity at another large wild trout.  Finding another angler, or having an angler find you, that rivals your passion and need to explore and seek out trout is the golden ticket.

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Being able to look at a run or riffle and pick it apart and have a counterpart do the same and arrive at completely different approaches both equally successful in their ability to trick wild trout is one thing.  But to be able to share in that often unspoken deep connection to nature, wild animals, and people is something else entirely.  Its that one thing that I think a lot of anglers who I take on trips are searching for but don’t know it.  Its something I see from time to time with life long angling partners when they reserve a day with me.  I have moved past the need to catch every fish, the want to catch the biggest fish, or the desire to be the best.  For me its about that connection to everything that is happening above and below the surface of the river.  To try and understand and decipher how its all connected and how I as an angler can be a part of it.  Ross shares that passion.  And while many of the things that pop up on social media are the weird, funny, and sometimes stupid moments that can fill a day on the river.  The days that you don’t see, the days I write about, the days that are discussed over dinner, the ones that are never even talked about…those are the ones that matter, that make up a life on the river.  For every dancing video, hoot and hollering trout encounter, every photo posted to keep butts in driftboat seats so I can pay the bills; there is a silent morning watching the river over coffee, enjoying the peace of the wild and the pleasure of another anglers company.

While its referred to as a bromance, and Ross is my Biden.  Its more than that.  A brother, a friend, a person that shares in my passion for trout and life.  A good angler requires a constant honing and fine tuning of the skills.  Being able to share in the chasing of trout with another equally but differently skilled angler is a key component of that in my mind, a fortunate byproduct of a good angling partner…because it’s not really about the trout at the end of the day is it?  Outside of angling people make connections with each other that last their lifetimes.  The connections that are made with people through shared passions are the ones that stick.  The ones that change your life, enrich it, fill it with the things that make us human.  All those intricate things that make up what it means to human.  Watching Ross and his lovely wife married in the woods, Thanksgiving dinner, my children excited to see them when they come to fish or hang out, the things that happen off river that make up the juicy parts of life and friendship.  They mimic the juicy parts of a day of fishing.  As I find myself getting older, watching my children grow, and spending more time riverside than I ever have, I chase the off river life as much as I chase the riverside one.

A testament to a good angling partner indeed.  When your entire life revolves around trout its nice to have another person knee deep in the run with you from time to time.  Not because they paid to be there, not because they want to know all your secrets, not even to learn from each other, but because damnit…fishing with them is bitchin’.  When the hatch is over, the river is quiet, and the boat is parked back in the driveway, and you still can’t pull yourself away from the conversation or the people you’re surrounded by…you know you found a good angling partner.

I hope to see ya riverside.

Tamarack.

Trout and I

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The Spring comes on slow here in the mountains.  The headwaters of the Yakima River slowly wake, with fits of runoff that redistribute silt, gravel, and nutrients throughout the river.  Already the Canadian Geese are about the riverbanks finding mates, making nests, and laying eggs.  Getting rather protective, so watch your step.  The Eagles frequent the budding trees, the smell of new growth in the thickets and forests greets me every morning I find myself riverside.  While clients gear up and chat about the basketball game or how work was last week, I take deep breaths through my nose, losing myself in the smell of spring, and the sound of running water at my feet.

The spring brings about big fish.  Which is the hope most anglers have when I shake their hands in the morning.  I make it a point to enjoy the little things that some people miss while riverside.  I do my best to point them out, but I find myself selfishly reveling in them while others are so focused on trout.  The trout will come…I become distracted with the life around me, the sounds and breaths that river life has.  The angler in me gets the better of me.

The things that steal my attention: The dance of two male geese fighting over a mate, the pairs of Merganser Ducks gliding together, otters bobbing among the current, a beaver carcass ravaged by raptors.  The sound the river makes when a fish rises and everyone’s breath leaves them, the force of the current reverberating through my oars and into my bones.  The speed of the rapids, the soft edges of the eddy, the deep emerald water of spring time, the infrequent but glorious wild trout.

I need to fish.  I need to pick apart riffle and run, to feel bend and head shake.  I need my patience and skill tested to frustration, only to be rewarded with wild and awesome trout.  I yearn for that connection, to feel the power of my quarry against my arm, to feel the trout calm before the release, the cold water…shocking to me, but embracing to the trout…that touch of wild, that disconnect from the human and that plug in to the primordial.  Where the sounds and worries of the life off river are paused for a moment and all that envelops my world is the one I am standing in…the river and the place of wild animals lurking in the depths.

My job is to introduce people to this world, or to reconnect them.  But connection through association is not the same and watching is not the same as doing.  Trout…and I…need time to ourselves.  I hope to see you out there…I’ll be lost in that world tomorrow.

 

Tamarack

Skwalla Holla

Just a quick little shout out!

The Skwallas are here. And fish are starting to look up. Got a nice fat cutty on the dry this afternoon during todays trip. 

So…the river is on the drop, the bugs are a poppin’, and my big ‘ol Hog Island drift boat is a rocking…time to chase trout my friends…bring a rain jacket…it’s moist out there. 

Skallwa Holla!!

Tamarack

A Little Philosophy to start off the Spring

The start of the season is always an anxious time for me.  I am more than ready to get out on the river and live on its schedule again.  This winter was long, filled with snow, and ridiculously cold.  I wake with the sun, the days are longer, the birds are here, things are thawing out…I’m ready.  But I’m not in a hurry.  The spring has come in slow.  Taking its time.  Testing the patience of anglers.

I’ve been out a few days the past few weeks.  After a few days on river I realized that things just weren’t ready yet.  Yes we caught fish, but spending an entire day on the river for a few hours of prime fishing time where you have to pester trout with nymphs and worms just isn’t my style.  The fish are just now moving onto a more regular feeding cycle.  Water temps and air temps have moved above 40 and the river is starting to wake up.  Now…I am excited to chase trout.

The winter is a time when fish and anglers take a break.  I fish a handful of days between November and February.  Mostly to keep the shack nasty at bay.  But this is also a time trout get to recharge in peace so I try not to mess with them.  As Spring approaches anglers and guides start hitting the river en mass on the warm ‘good’ days.  Already access roads in the upper are rutted with eager anglers.  I’ve kept myself out of the upper river for two main reasons this spring.  Access isn’t great, and I’m not about to damage the only few access points available to me by mucking them up so they have to be closed for repairs later…(and we all know how repairs on state and public land go around here).  The other and more important reason I haven’t fished the upper…its not ready yet.  The Upper river is always behind the lower in the spring.  We may get summer bugs and mayflies before the Lower as things warm up, but the spring is a slow creep up here.

I want to fish when things are on.  When trout are awake, active…acting all trouty.  When they move about their world doing what they do.  I want to float when the river has a schedule, a routine, that natural order that breaks up a trouts day.  When trout are on a schedule…they are easier to target and to trick.  If you’ve fished the river the past few weeks you probably found good fishing between noon and 3.  Pretty standard. You probably also found pods of fish staged is slow froggy water feeding on nymphs and worms.  Pretty standard.  But that’s all we’ve really had the past few weeks.  A small window of fish being somewhat active in that winter staging water.  For me…as an angler…and a guide…that type of fishing is pretty…meh.  I’ve fished this river a lot over the years and I am able to sequester that call of the river when trout are still on their winter routine.

But now…when the overnight lows are above freezing consistently, the water temps stay above 40, and the fish are displaced by swelling and falling flows due to the melt and runoff of spring.  Trout move, they are forced about the river by flows, they begin to feed because they are expelling energy, spawning becomes their focus.  And suddenly…the river, the trout, the insects, the birds, all the faun and foliage begin to wake up.  I can feel the change happening.  The air is lighter, the sun brighter, there is a warm sweet scent to the river.  The damp underbrush and thickets come alive with little buds and birds.  It’s as if everything, including me, is able to breath.  As if I am awake now too.

That call from the river can no longer be muffled, its overwhelmingly loud.  A constant roar in my head that beckons me.  Like a class 4 rapid in the background.  When I sleep I hear the river, when I dream it is of feeding lanes, water to read, and the feel of a wild trout leaving my hands back into that world that calls to me.  My patience and anticipation for this period comes from a place of experience and respect.  I do not eagerly await the trout season so that I can guide.  I do not chase trout for money.  Yes I pay my bills and support my family from guiding…but I am an angler first.  And over the past several years I have learned much about the world of trout.  I fish with a purpose, with a plan, a method.  I don’t hit the river just to hang out, and spend the day deciding which bar to hit when the float is over.  I fish because I would be lost without it.

Interacting with the river and trout is a part of me.  Something  I need.  Guiding is just facilitating that need for others; and a logical decision for someone who desires to live on the river most of the year.  The energy that presents itself when I fish whether guiding or angling myself…is organic, natural, and I rarely filter it for people.  I warn my clients that I can get excited for fish.  I always make my trips about clients, the day they want, and sometimes those days aren’t on the same energy level as a personal day for me, I am facilitating other people’s river time…but I always get excited about trout.  Otherwise what is the point?  That excitement comes from the anticipation that I feel each day when the trout are on that routine and we get to be a part of it.  As a guide I revel in my ability to decipher and read the river.  It’s the juiciest part of the day for me.  My jam.  That groovy goodness when the boat, guide, and anglers are all syncopated with the river and the wild trout that we chase.  I have become that type of angler and guide because of experience, and the respect that has developed over the course of that experience.

As a guide I am a steward for the river.  On the front lines, a first responder so to speak.  My patience at the beginning of the season, the method to how I approach the river and the trout, all have the best interests of the trout first.  I always attempt to float different stretches, or fish them differently if I am fishing the same section multiple days.  I stay away from the spawning trout up high in the spring.  I only book so many trips to make sure I don’t over do it in the spring, and am able to be flexible with inconsistent river conditions.  I work hard in the prime season so make sure I am not dependent on the income from the first few trips of the spring.  I fish and guide with that respect for the resource and the wild critters that call it home.  I plan to guide for a long time and I want the river and trout to be well looked after during my time with them.   Be an example to my children, to my clients, to the other anglers that frequent my text messages, emails, Instagram posts, and river time.

I used to be one of those crazy guys, fishing every day, throwing my hard boat over guard rails, bombing down snow locked roads, using tow straps and guide ingenuity to get in and out of the river before everyone else.  Just for a chance at a trout or two.  Now I know to wait…patiently, and prep.  You can’t force fly fishing.  It is fluid.  From the cast, to the way a fly is tied, to how the river moves, and the trout react….it is all fluid and filled with intricacy and finesse.  The wait also makes the days to come that much sweeter.

Trout are a finicky critter, and I gave up on conquering them a long time ago.  I strive to be a part of that world on my days of fishing.  To become a part of the routine of the river.  When the fish move, when the bugs migrate, when the hatches come off, the lies that hold trout from one time of the season to another, I know when and where.  It is a constant part of my life that keeps me busy from February to October.  The never ending fine tuning of the skills to read and seek out wild trout are fascinating and intoxicating to me.  The ability to interpret everything from the river, the bugs, the trout and make sense of it and be able to translate it for others is a skill that can set an angler or guide apart from others.  Coming back to guiding the past 2 years has shown me that my time learning all that I have, was not wasted.  It does set me apart as a guide and angler.  It has taught me that a guide or fishing days’ success is not wholly based on how many trout came to the net.  The past two years back at guiding and especially last season have also shown me that the majority of clients just want to learn those interpretation skills and will come back again and again to learn and to have me take the brunt of the work of plugging people into that river routine.

The spring is here.  My stoke is at its highest level.  My patience is waning as the snow melts.  The river is moving back onto its spring routine and so am I.  The season is here, and I for one am done hibernating…its time to chase trout.

 

Tamarack