I don’t get to read new water very often here on the homewater. There was a time when I would venture out into the woods and explore and discover new water, and meet new trout when this place I call home was still new to me. I’ve hiked to the source of the Yakima, Cooper, Cle Elum, and Teanway Rivers and fished each in nearly their entirety. I’ve blue lined the maps of the whole ranger district in search of trout and solitude. You know…the cliche things we fly anglers do.
It’s not that I tire of my homewater, quite the contrary, I am still discovering and exploring things about it, but the rivers here are like re-reading old favorite books. The trout I trick new things I read and learn that are there…between the lines. I am at home here, the river a comfortable place that I can lose myself in. But I yearn for new and exciting stories to read. New characters to meet. New rivers.
Spring Runoff is a good time to venture out of an anglers comfort zone or homewater and search out new places to chase fish and read water. In the past 11 years I have seen a lot of water that Washington has to offer. From the Olympic Penninsula, the Columbia Basin, High Mountains of the Cascades, and of course a deep relationship with the Yakima River and the Tributaries. I now look to smaller rivers that can be easily broken down and covered within a few days. Something that presents a challenge, a river with less fish, or maybe one that is tucked away on some long trail that not many people frequent. I want 300 yards of riffles and turns, boulders and seams, where fish hide eagerly waiting for an insect to pass by. Water that doesn’t require my boat, but requires I walk the banks and wade the river to unlock it’s secrets. One that requires attention to detail, and gives me the ability to lose myself in reading the intricate nature of how river, insect, and trout interact.
Not much of that is left for me except for a few select places. I venture east towards Idaho and Montana more now. But there are still blue lines on maps within an hour or two drive of my house that I have yet to sling flies on. While anglers and guides hike float tubes and grab bass and carp flies, I would rather find a mountain stream with a few trout, a 3wt, and a box of simple attractor patterns. Searching each pocket, seam, eddy, and riffle in the hopes that a trout decides to create a new story for a new river, for a new chapter in this fly angler life I have chosen to live.
I hope to see you riverside soon.