So I am all for river shenanigans and getting silly on the river. I do it all the time to relax, detox from the guide week, or just to enjoy the river without the pressure of having to guide or fish seriously. I especially engage in this type of behavior in the summer time as I am about 100 trips in and things start to get to you. So you spend some time riverside with buddies getting silly, catching a few fish, but mostly just dinking around.
Then there are times where the fish are feeding, selectively, and require the utmost attention, focus, and stillness of the angler. These situations can be very intense, with large trout actively feeding just within cast reach. The kind of trout that if you cast too much you’ll never see them again. So you wait…you watch…you listen….and you don’t make too much noise for fear that this trout will become aware that it is being stalked and is the quarry of the attentive angler.
Yesterday we found ourselves in such a situation. In one of my favorite runs of the upper river. A pod of fish 4 of which were very large began feeding in response to the March Brown and BWO hatch that was sporadically coming off. A large trout in particular, was feeding on a 30-45 second interval. Coming up and hoovering insects by opening its mouth just under the surface and letting the mayfly drop in with a faint gulping sound and a kick of a dorsal fin before lowering back into the depths. It was intoxicating to watch, and the fellow angler I was with and I were enjoying just watching them eat before we made our approach.
They were spooky, we had to try 3 different flies, and several different approaches. We hooked one but not the one we were after. Finally I was able to get a good drift and I got refused…twice. Gave me a look…tracked the fly…but wouldn’t commit. So we waited. To see if they would reset and give us another shot. Unfortunately we did not get another shot.
The type of day I described at the beginning of the blog, well we had a group come through that were having that sort of day. And they were being silly, loud, and fishing they way they wanted to…not the way the fish were demanding. And that is all good. I have no issue with it…but that kind of day….does not mesh well with the type of day we were having or with the current pod of fish we were working. As the other boat came through the run of course…our sensitive fish decided they had enough and retreated back to their hidey holes for the afternoon. Even with bugs over head…they were aware of us and would not come back out to play. A huge bummer, especially when others can clearly see what you are trying to do.
It happens. I get bummed, I might blog or talk about it, but it happens and it sucks. We found a pod of fish that required technical skill, patience, and proper angling approaches and methods and we were in the thick of it. To have moments like that become sullied just sucks. And I am not super upset about it…just bummed is all. I’ll have more moments like that and I will have clients and myself catch fish during them. It all comes down to two things.
Some of us are out there to chase fish and become a part of that world that trout live in…others are just out here to relax, cut loose, and make themselves feel good. And that’s okay…just don’t curse in church when the others are praying.