I am swinging in my hammock, the bright moon quicksilver on the river surface. The sound of the run constant, along with the crickets and the slight breeze reverberating amongst the cliff walls of the Upper Yakima River Canyon.
My clients slumber in the tent. The fire out now, I have a smoke and listen to a few of my favorite tunes while I write this blog. The fishing has been slower, I’ll admit, but we have had some memorable trout. The conversations from today have left my mind full. I have this unique opportunity and I feel very forunate to be able to share life with others over fly fishing. I have become a well rounded individual through this activity and the people I meet and share it with. My clients return to fish with me and come all the way from Texas in some cases to share time on the river with me, support my family, and learn all that fly fishing has to offer. And I’m not just talking about the trout and the skills it takes to trick them.
The conversations I have riverside and fireside are some of the only conversations that stay with me, impact me, guide me not only as an angler but also as a man. I feel this organic and primal connection to the world that trout inhabit. Our world…my world. The world without cars, or phones, or stress, or jobs, or noise. Just a rising trout, a good cast, and a smiling face, that’s what’s out here. When you get right down to it, from the surface it looks just as simple as that. A rising trout, a good cast, and a smiling face. But underneath, there is so much more. Just like the quicksilver laden river surface before me that continues to distract me from writing; there is much more going on under the surface.
Fly fishing is intricate, in so many ways. Much more than a rising trout, a good cast, and a smile. Ponder all the things that happen between all those casts at rising trout with smiles following?
There is much to this fly fishing thing. Even after 11 seasons riverside I learn more and more every time I come to the river. My skills for trout may be at their pinnacle, but there is so much more to this activity than my ability to trick and catch these wild trout.
Spending two days with clients allows so much more to develop between anglers and guide. I also cook an okay steak for dinner, have whiskey handy, and make a damn good campfire. There is much to be said about conversations over a campfire next to a river. That raw connection to the fire, the wild around, and the people you are sharing it with has meaning, gives sustinence to the mind and soul, brings balance. Not Facebook comments and Twitter posts, or Instagram feeds or text messages, turn that shit off, put that shit down, and look me in the eye when we talk, laugh and smile with me, enjoy the birds, trees, warm fire, and fish and non fish stories.
There is something special about sharing an evening on the river with others. Even as I write this I realize that right now, with 97% assurance, my clients and I are the only people on river this evening. And we’ll be the first ones on it in the morning. While every other client and guide is standing in line to grab their coffee and breakfast before hitting the river at 9am, I will have woken with the sun, had my coffee made with water from the river, drinking it with my toes in the river while I sit on the bow of my boat. We will have been fishing and enjoying the river for a good hour before everyone else. And I’ll have cast to trout in the morning before my clients wake. There is something special about sharing an evening on the river with others.
Have a good evening. I know I will.
By the way, I’m the only guide offering overnight trips currently.