I haven’t done a blog in a while. To be honest I have either had nothing to say or too much to find something to focus into a blog. I have been in work mode. And unfortunately this trip has made me realize part of the problem with the Yak and me right now is that I have been treating the Yakima like a commodity instead of a resource. It happens when things get busy and you want to produce as a guide. Instead of exploring and delving into my homewater I have been just running my lines and working things like they are a job and not fishing. Clients don’t see it as much, but I do and its on me anyway. Returning to the Joe immediately made that apprent.
The St. Joe is wonderous. It is filled with so much water to read and explore. I fished it very hard last summer while I was guiding it. Became intimate with many a mile of the Joe. Still, when I dream of a river…it is the Joe. Its also filled with a fuck ton of fish…just saying.
It took ten casts to hook and land a wild Idaho westlope cutthroat trout that would be a dandy on the Yakima any day. The next 5 hours were an absolute blur of headhunting dry fly sippers, working fast water hydraulics with big goldens and teasing and tricking large amd small trout galore. Nymphing yielded a few nice ones too. And I ended my last run for the evening with the streamer and went 2 for 3 on the hard strip like I was chasing browns in Montana. Big aggresive swipes before the big smack and hook up and some heffer troots. The Joe is fucken magical.
And as a rather well versed trout angler…its not that its easy on the Joe…its that the skillset I have developed and tuned over the past 16 years fully comes to the surface while chasin trout with a fly and rod here. It just becomes fishing…not trying to figure anything out, not having to teach or learn anything. The water is there, the trout underneath, I see the cast and presentation needed, and it just happens…over and over and over.
I am in my element on any river, and I have become very good at the craft of fly angling. Take the boat, the clients, business, all that away and I am just an angler. I spent years becoming a good angler before I became a guide. And these days I don’t get to chase fish for myself too much. Even on fun days or floats with friends or collegues, I don’t fish much. I row, and on wade days I almost always yield the first casts to others.
I take days for myself on the Yak too but here its different because I can fish the yak anyday. So that drive to chase and explore, the desire to find what is around the next bend is turned all the way up to 11 when I fish other waters. And that brings out the best of my angling. Its like a virtuoso musician nailing their performance. In that groove, no real thinking just reading, presenting…just fishing. This cast here, this mend there, high stick that, swing here but strip there…I don’t think it. Its just automatic. Just in it anglers. That is what years of this will bring you anglers. Everything just clicks into place and you become a part of the river for a while. You can get lost in it. Hence the blur of 5 plus hours of fishing today.
Returning to the Joe brings a lot of things up…some not so great….but the fishing here…its just fucking fantastical and is always worth it. I have fished more rivers than I can count in the west…this place is by far one the most amazing. Top 3 fosho. Its just everything I could ever want in a trout river…and its all cutties.
Gotta sleep, floating 10 hours or so tomorrow and fishing a big chunk of the river.