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It hurts

Okay…its been 6 weeks since I guided last and almost that long since I fished. A neccessary evil…necessary but still evil.

The past 6 weeks have been much like the offseason winter months. As long as you don’t look outside that is. I wake up with the river. And I haven’t found myself fully awake because of the disconnect with the river. It is making me really cranky. Like a bear trapped in the post hibernation stupor…groggy, hangry…needs to poop. Just cranky.

The river comes alive this time of year. The trees grow their leaves, the cotton woods start to smell sweet, the birds flutter, sing, and chirp about the edges of the water. The otters and ducks, the beavers, the ravens, raptors, fucken deers, the bugs, and of course the trout.

I miss it. And this may make me out to sound like an asshat but its not the same as most. Its not just the river, its the guiding, the people, the gauntlet that is the Yakima, the crazy energy, the life it causes me to live. I miss the rythym, the schedule, the anticipation, the feeling when I get it right, and the feeling of defeat and perseverance through the suck. I live my life on that river. And not being able to be in its embrace….it really fucken sucks. Sorry I can’t think of a more eloquent way of stating my feelings.

I don’t have much in my life. That river is a lot of it. I have put over a decade of my adult life learning the craft of fly angling, fly tying, boat rowing, and business. Sunk the majority of my life’s earnings and monies into it. I am determined to make guiding my career until I literally can no longer physically fly fish. I have lost so much in the pursuit of fly fishing. I have also gained more than I could have ever hoped for. The river is a part of me. 6 weeks without a limb, or a part of your brain, or that deep physical, emotional, primal, natural, and psychological connection to the world of wild trout…it takes its toll. As so many fellow river rats, dirt bags, guides, and outdoorsy folk are feeling as we enter what may be our last week cut off from what we crave most.

It hurts anglers. It hurts my heart, my brain, even my body aches for the pull and push of the river current. I even had a cry about it the other day. Probably had too much herb, and I tied a really amazing set of march browns and realized I wasn’t gonna get to fish them this season. Had a little pandemic break down. Its allowed.

The financial worry is really not worth the stress. I can’t do shit about it. Qualifying for these loans is damn near impossible with my little business. I am in that boat of, if I can get back to work soon I should be good. But that leaves me and just about everyone else running that risk of infection. Just like our front line people, grocery clerks, drivers, and other currently essential workers have been risking this whole time. Its not fun to think about. And trying to figure out where that line is sucks. Its reminds me of the 2015 drought. Out of work for 6 weeks, getting back to it running that fine line of… not killing trout but trying to keep my fledging business afloat. Now its just…not killing people…I guess…okay that really fucken sucks. Honestly…I don’t wanna. That’s a shitty position to be put in on top of everything else. Preaching to the choir I know. And to everyone who has been still going to work. Sucks.

We shall see about guiding. But fishing at least, hopefully soon. It hurts anglers…thinking about all this stuff. I figured venting some would help a little. It does. But that’s what we are all processing right now. What things are going to look like moving forward. As an older millenial…I will be honest, I am exhausted. 9/11, Wars, financial crisis of 08, recession, school shootings, student loan debt crisis, healthcare crisis, climate crisis, and Pandemic crisis. I am exhausted. And would like things to be better on the other side of this for once. It would be nice to have some calm water around the next bend this trip.

There is some craziness out there that makes me feel otherwise. From drinking bleach, to blatent lies, to just doing a shit job across the board on all fronts on so many levels by too many of our leaders…its a cluster. This country went from melting pot to cluster fuck real quick.

When things do open back up. Please…I implore you…be smart. Be safe. Please please please be respectful and patient. And be nice to the communities that you visit when you recreate. We remember you. The Yakima River Communities are really close knit. And we have weathered the oast 6 weeks really well. As other counties deal with more cases. We are all anxious about things opening back up. Please please please be respectful and kind.

Things won’t be normal…not like they were after this. They can’t be. But hopefully fishing won’t change too much. I hope to see you riverside soon and maybe even in my boat.

Stay safe anglers.

Tamarack

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Tis the fucken season already!

Okay…so this closure is neccessary…and it is also evil. I am just saying. It fucken sucks and I have had it.

Okay. Rant over. Stupid coronavirus…

While I try desperately to avoid the news as its just one cluster after another…there is an absolute standstill on getting anywhere with a disaster relief loan or grant right now, and 3 months of the trout season are just about gone. Thousands lost, mentally unstable, and that stimulus check only goes so far and can’t stimulate much being locked down. I need to be stimulated…shit…ugh…meh.

So…we might get to fish by May 4th but don’t be to giddy. More then likely we will see another 10 to 14 days of lockdown or at least closures. I am guessing things will be brought back online one step at a time. Being completely non essential fly fishing and guiding is near the bottom of that list. There is also the added worry of the economy being total hot garbage for months after this, which doesn’t bode well for saving the season. Lots of stress on the business front. And more on the personal front.

As I don’t like to get into the off river stuff to much I just wanna iterate here…never let anyone make you feel bad or like a failure for chasing your passion and finding success through it. My job has been on hold for weeks. I make good money and am very good at my gig. But this shit put everything on pause and its not my fault. Paitience…the river will provide.

Anyway. Kinda all over the place. This isolation is getting to me fosho.

So we might get to fish by May 4th in time for the Mothers Day Caddis Bonanza. But more than likely we will be back to it by Memorial Day. Probably in masks. May only be running light halfer trips, and still doing all the cleanliness and washing stuff.

We will no longer be shaking hands or high fiving. Sorry anglers. Just gonna break that habit now. Elbow taps from here on out. So don’t be offended if I don’t shake your hand.

Look for dates in June through October. We will hopefully get 5 months of the season and it might be enough to get through this craptastic year. We can still save the season. Support how you can.

Those that have to reschedule…start picking your summer dates! Anyone waiting on refunds and returns please continue to be patient.

Thank you..

Tis the fucken season already…

Tamarack

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Went for a walk

I saw the river yesterday. I took a walk, and may have ventured past a Closed sign or 2. With 2 weeks of islolation still left on the calendar and 6 weeks of work just gone when this hopefully will be somewhat over…I had to get out. There is good news in WA state on the Pandemic front and the projections for the COVID-19 impact change daily and are much less than originally predicted. There is hope anglers…we may have the opportunity to fish during the famous Yakima River Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch.

I could not sit any longer. I needed to see the river. To feel it, hear it. I saw fish, I heard birds and critters. I listened to the trees sing and the creek and river babble along in tune. Twas glorious.

The lack of connection to river and anglers is taking its toll. While many other anglers and guides are posting photos and lamenting online…I have just taken a step back and chilled the fuck out. Everything is out of my control so I stopped stressing about all that shit I can’t do anything about with the current situation.

Yes I am bummed that I can’t fish. But I can’t change it. Losing money…fuck yes…just like everyone else. Lots of money for my little guide operation. Lots. But I have survived worse in business and in life so I just shrug my shoulders and be patient. I will get back to it. I have gotten really good at skating and floating by and waiting for the river to provide. She has never failed me and I put what faith I do have in the river.

Its quiet, and I hope that when we come out of this we have learned something as a country, a people. While this has been going one our environment has been systematically beaten down through all sorts of backhanded shit when it comes to regulations, business and conservation.

Our economy tanked in a matter of days. The entire world has been put on pause. Might be time to rewind the tape and take a look at how we got here and why. Decide if this is the way we wish to continue?

I hope staying at home has been positive. Sharing time with loved ones is a luxury for some. Don’t take this time for granted. Many are alone and out of work with little contact. I am fortunate to have a few people in my life that have made this easier to bare.

But I have checked out. There is just nothing to report while shit is on pause. I tie, build a shit ton of legos, video games, and reading. I check in periodically with people and have plenty reach out.

Thank you to all my clients and angler peeps that have reached out and bought flies and trips. All I can ask is to reserve trips for summer and fall. We may be doing them in masks but hey…fish don’t care and the pictures will be something.

I will see you all riverside soon anglers. Really soon.

Tamarack

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Pandemic Blog

Well…this sucks. I have had little to write about as there is no fishing because of fucken coronavirus. Yes its serious and I am not down playing it. But this still sucks and I am gonna complain about it.

The closures are the right call. And as new info comes out with COVID-19 and the spread of this nasty shit, more is being learned and its looking like it won’t be as horrible as previously thought with these social distancing measures.

That doesn’t negate the fact that I am going to lose roughly 1/4 of my annual income if not more. When the numbers jump over $10,000 I start to get anxious. Its a nasty hit that the whole guiding industry is feeling. Luckily its just me and I don’t have employees or a shop to worry about.

The isolation has finally started to get to me. I miss connecting with the river, my clients, the wild critters we chase. I crave the energy that charges me while riverside. My very being needs the outlet as the internal energy continues to build with no where to channel it.

The madness has start to set in. Absolute boredom which causes a lack of interest in doing anything. Suddenly 2 days have gone by and there is no sense of urgency or worry about it. Just a strange vibe all around. My boat is sad, and upset that she is stuck in the driveway. I tinker every other day on the boat…but there is no real push to finish things while in this fucken weird ass limbo.

I tie, but even that loses its appeal as I know I can’t go fish with said flies. I have orders and have chunked away at them as well…but I will be honest anglers…there just isn’t a lot of motivation right now. Lots of uncertainty and an inability to find solace, respite, and clarity through river, fly, rod, and trout…so my world is just…well…its just fucked right now.

With the prospect of not being able to fish or guide until May…possibly as late as Memorial Day…the stress compounds. And if it is later than that our industry as a whole will have a hard recovery. I have started the process of SBA stuff and will continue to work on that during the down time. A pesky little virus isn’t going to kill my career…I have weathered worse. Patience pays off.

I will have flies up for sale for when we get to fish again…summer bugs! I am offereing everyone who has booked a trip in the Spring first dibs on reacheduling for summer dates with no additonal charge for the trip. There is not much else to do except wait and hope the money doesn’t run out completely. There is a lot going on for not a lot happening….been down the last few days trying to wrap my head around it all…came up with nothing really. Just more waiting.

Couple of things to be positive about…the virus is bad…but not as bad as initially thought. We will go back to a new normal after this…a better one I hope…I hope everyone has been paying attention. The fish…can’t get sick…and they aren’t going anywhere. They are getting a break. They will be spawning soon and for once…they will have the river to themselves…so its hard to be upset about that.

Their world is still flowing while ours has come to a complete halt. It makes me respect the lifestyle I have. Missing it sucks but this time away gives me time to reflect and appreciate what I get to do for a living. And I will continue to chase fish in the beautiful and wild places they live. Just as soon as this shit is over.

Be safe, try and be nice, but always be kind, and wash your hands.

See ya riverside soon anglers.

Tamarack

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Locals Only

Alright anglers,

I need you all to stay home until we get in front of this health crisis. I cannot have clients traveling back and forth from our towns risking exposure and spread. We all need to hunker down. It would be easier if our state just did it alreayd but I and other outdoor business have been feeling thr pressures of operating and being responsible. This just makes it easy.

All trips for the next 2 weeks are rescheduled.

Please stay home. Don’t come fish or recerate during this health crisis. I know this sucks. But its two weeks. Practice those casting skills.

See ya in a few weeks.

Locals only until then.

Tamarack

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WTF

Well…I have had a hard time writing a blog lately. Reasons are pretty obvious with the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

Its been a scramble for us all. And this blog is not about the virus but what it is causing. I see it here in my community. People coming together, doing what is necessary to for their neighbors, friends, family, fellow citizens, our children, and our elderly. Doing all the stuff and the things to combat this crazy moment in our lives.

This is unlike anything any generation alive on this planet has seen. The upheaval and change it will cause will rival the aftermath of world wars and previous pandemics. But the question is who will be when it is all over?

Sure this pandemic is showing all our faults, inadequacy, and our instabilities. But this is a country of people and I still put the faith I do have in people…and science. This will show us who we really are. It already is.

Many of us are in this limbo state. And it sucks, it’s stressful, and this event is going test us all. There is a lot of negative out there. But there doesn’t have to be.

The world is quieter now. Like the planet is taking a big breath and we all should do the same. There isn’t a lot we can control right now. We can’t magically cure this, we can’t wish the economy back, and we can’t just keep on going about our days like always. Take this time to focus on what you can control.

Time with loved ones. Something I am unable to do as I am away from my kids until this is over. Many of us are at home with our families and may be for the foressebale future. Take this time to enjoy each other’s company and feel that love that you have for people. Talk, listen, be with each other.

For someone like me, I just fish. Its all I can do besides tie flies and mope around. Luckily I have conditioned my patience so a few more weeks of offseason isn’t anything new. The spring is always a crapshoot, this one is no different. I have a few close friends that I have enjoyed acceptable social distancing activities with. I spent the whole off season dealing with lonliness I can handle it.

During this pandemic I have also met new interesting people. People that add to my life. People I may not have encountered otherwise. Last night is a perfect example. Normally after fishing I would typically have a soda and something to eat at the local pub, talk fish with friends, maybe go dancing with my yoga pals, things that don’t revolve around the river.

But Friday this week was a fishy day with my fishing partner and best friend. We have both been staying in place and avoiding groups of more than 10. Fishing is pretty safe as long as everyonr is healthy and is adhering to the social distance rules off river as well as on. It was a busy day on the river but fun.

Afterwards I decided to go home early and isolate for the rest of the evening Before I could settle in I got a text to come hang out and watch the stars. From a fellow angler and guide I met the day before. Sometimes you just meet a river peep and it clicks. Energies mesh, fish are caught, and that experience is shared. You learn a lot about a person when fishing with them.

So to get a text from someone I barely know to come hang out… normally I would just ignore it but during this craziness…all we really have is that connection to each other. So I went. Sitting around a campfire plenty of feet apart with 2 other people, talking, laughing, and watching and photographing the stars seems like an okay way to spend an evening during a pandemic.

I take looking at the stars for granted. To have two people who don’t get the chance to see the night sky with no light pollution be amazed and awed by the stars at night here on the Yakima was just the kind of medicine needed.

During this WTF time, remember your neighbors, that little old lady down the block, the single mom struggling to keep her kids entertained while keeping the stress at bay from paying the rent and when or if work will start back up. To the nurse that hasn’t slept in 2 days and ran out of masks 3 days ago and is still going to work. The business man that moved to this country 30 years ago and happens to have parents from south east asia and is dealing with unwarranted racism while trying to keep his business afloat, his employees paid, and his family taken care of. Think about the people. Talk to each other, connect with those you see walking the trail or river that you haven’t seen before. Say hello, smile, stay 4-6 feet away, but connect on some way. Don’t be dicks. We have enough of that already right now.

We need this event to bring out the best in all of us. We have to be there for each other. Be there for people we haven’t even met and may never meet. This isn’t about the virus, or the economy, or who’s in charge and who’s to blame. This is about us. Its only ever been about us. So be the best of us.

Listen, be safe, try your damndest to be nice but always be kind. I will see you on the other side anglers…riverside.

Tamarack

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Update

Hey Anglers,

Its kind of wintery out there. But things start to spring back up this next week. That being said:

We have the virus. Those of us that can practice social distancing are. I am staying out of public places, prepping all food for trips at home in a clean space, and keeping the truck clean. I am still running trips. If more travel restrictions come I will address trips accordingly.

If you have booked a trip this spring and would prefer to reshcedule for later in the season I can easily accommodate that. If you are sick or feel you may have come in contact with someone who is sick please stay home and reachedule. Fish will still be there in a month or two. Many clients have children that are now at home, some work in our healthcare, others have to take time off or away from work. This will be a struggle for many. I have cancelled my kids spring break visit to be safe. I have already moved trips. Its a normal thing in the spring, usually due to weather and runoff but something my business was prepared for.

I will still be fishing and facilitating that stress relief. Running trips and putting up reports. If you are healthy come on out. Fishing and outdoor recreation is a great way to still enjoy social distancing. Fresh air and some trout never hurt anybody.

Some things I am doing in the boat until the situation changes.

Prepped lunches that are individually spilt up for everyone in clean containers.

All fly rods and reels are sprayed with cleaner after each day.

I reccomend anglers bring their own gear if they have it.

Rig cleaned and wiped down after every trip.

No handshakes or high fives…which really sucks but is an easy one. Elbow bumps and foot taps anglers.

If things change with operations or trips I will update. Thank you to everyone, keep practicing social distancing, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, fish if you can, thank a healthcare worker, and I hope to see ya riverside.

Tamarack

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Boomer Trout and a Good Spring

The season is here. In 15 years I can’t remember a Spring that has started off this good. Usually the weather is crap, the river is a hot dumbster fire, and the fish are uncooperative AF. But not this spring.

We are seeing skwallas…not just thinking about or hoping for them. That hatch should peak in the upper late this week and next. The BWOs are starting to percolate. Another 10 days and they will be an abundant food source. Then the March Browns show up, the water temps bump up to 50 and shit gets really silly.

The birds are awake, the trees are budding, the critters are frolicking…everything is waking up. I am no different.

I have fished more days than not the past 3 weeks. Typically shirking responsibilities and procrastinating damn near everything else to chase fish. It is both a strength and a weakness. I still have a tendency to say fuck it…and go fish instead. Shit off river will be there when my waders dry so why not get to it when the fish aren’t eating. It can get you into trouble if you let it. The trick is to keep everything off river simple…the riverside stuff is complicated enough.

The stength of being a bum is having things dialed in. Feeling the river, the fish, and having that guide juju that clients think is a super power. In reality…its just the result of work and time. It makes me really good at my job and serves me well when things start getting super busy.

I don’t have to think about the fish. They are creatures of habit that respond and adapt to their environments hourly. When its dialed in it becomes more about finding that groove so that we are all singing the same tune. Jamming the same juicy vibes man. That click. Where everything from the boat, the clients, the cast, the fish are all doing the things and we just fish. Having that knowledge and that constant contact and sync up with the river makes it so my attention is more focused on my anglers.

My first trip was dynamite. Typically I get skunked with my first trip or the first few some seasons! I waited until March to guide, and have been closely monitoring the river trying to see where she is at. I have gotten pretty good at it over the years. The fish are sitting right on the cusp of really ramping up their trouty behavior. That water temp is starting to rise towards 45 which is like a switch for trout. We are only a week or so away from mother nature flipping that switch.

We have a large rebounded population of trout from the 2015 drought. We also have a lot of big adult fish in the system this season. It makes the stoke wicked high.

The fish are looking up, the weather is amazing, the bugs are starting, and the spring season is finally here anglers. Get it while its good. We will have high water, blow outs, rain, wind, salmon pulses, and other things that make it funky this spring. When its good and things are aligned…get out here. For a trip or just on your own. As an angler you owe it to yourself to experience a spring season like the one we have shaping up. And it literally just started!

Its not every year we get opportunity to fish a spring like this. Its also not every season when we have all these big ass trout in the river. Being a natural wild spawning population these fish go through swings with population and size with every generation. This is a year where there are a lot of Boomer Trout out there that know how to play this fly angling game. Come see what its all about.

See ya riverside anglers,

Tamarack.

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Just Chasin’ Trout

You ever have one of those days where your brain just won’t shut the fuck up and leave you be? I realized today while I threw my gear into the truck knowing the wind would suck, that if I didn’t go out I would only feel worse. I made myself go.

There was no call from the river, but sitting in my house just thinking and tying, and thinking and tying and rewatching the same episodes of Parks and Rec and The Office didn’t seem like how I wanted to spend the day. There is plenty of that in the evenings where I pace around my 180 sq ft tiny house from tying desk to loungy chair before bed. And my mornings are the same just between the coffee pot and the tying table.

One part of it is the end of the cabin fever and the anxiousness of the spring. I can feel things changing and that only makes it worse for me. Its like the spring jump starts that energy I have. An energy which has had little avenue lately. Chasing steelhead was a wonderful distraction and outlet but its just not the same as chasin troots. Frankly compared to trout fishing, at least for me, steelheading is wicked boring. And winter trout fishing is mostly me just yelling at and arguing with the river for still being wintery.

The other part of it is lonliness. Let me be honest. It has settled in. And the very few people I have spent time with off river personally leave me with just wanting to go fish more. Off river life is complicated and full of What If’s, Maybes, Games, and entirely to much drinking. The more time I spend riverside the less I enjoy and understand the off river.

There isn’t any lonliness in fishing. I have never truly felt lonely while fishing solo. My brain can’t get in the way either. It has a purpose, something to focus on when on river. It allows me to process, and make sense of the noise in my head. Filter each sound out, address it, listen to it, and move on to the next one. All while slinging another cast to that juicy lane.

It’s never just fishing. And I had little actual interest in catching a fish today. I actually preferred not to and wasn’t bummed when I left without feeling the tug. It really wasn’t about that today. My brain has been exhausted. My personal life has been in turmoil but has settled finally. I feel physically prepared, gear is ready, boat too, but mentally I haven’t felt ready for that intensity that comes with guiding.

The brain is the harder of the things to prepare. Getting rid of distractions, taking a break from the majority of people, fishing solo, enjoying the things that my lifestyle allows me, talking with my kids, all help settle the mind. Yoga too. In reality, getting my shit together has been the biggest help. I have had help, which I will always be grateful for, but I also had to just take care of some shit on my own. Hence, mentally exhausted. Today and the next few are about taking time to get focused on the river. It takes up my whole life for the most part once things start rolling. I felt the pressures of rambling and rolling to heavy last season. Not taking time with the mental side of things and I paid some heavy prices for it.

The guide season starts this weekend for me. And the spring is shaping up to be the busiest I have ever had. And spring fishing ain’t easy anglers. I will be happy to go back to the routine of the guide life. The challenge of the river and clients, searching for that groovy jam of anglers and guide, boat and river, trout and fly, all playing together.

Things off river are in order as much as they can be. Any other worries I have flow away with the river current every morning. It becomes just…the day…and what it will bring and what I make of it. Then its just days…more river days. Chasing 260 riverside and 170 guide days this season. The things I need the river will provide. Its not a bad way to live. Finally back to that simple guide life. Just chase trout. Just chasin’ trout.

See ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

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Dry Fly Eats

Its been one of those mornings where I puttered around debating if I should go fish. Supposed to be windy later, but its really nice right now. I have things I should probably do but also just have that, don’t wanna do anything, sense about me.

I wake up at 7 every morning. I beat my alarm by a few minutes. The kind of…you’re awake so get the hell up, wake up. Body is out of hibernation…some days the brain has to play catch up. I also fished a bunch of days lately, caught some really nice fish, have a busy calendar filling up, dealt with some personal life stuff, and you come down pretty hard after rolling and rambling for a handful of days in a row. My body is also tired from rowing a lot. I have been putting it through a bit more stress to get ready. I am a week from my first guide trip of the season.

Right when the fish have started to look up. A dry fly eat, in my professional and personal opinion…is the fucken best. All the ways we target trout with flies can produce a big fish. Trophy troots come on nymphs, steamers, and dries. Every angler settles on what they really enjoy doing the most. For me its dry fly fishing. That spills over into my professional fishing but it seems to work in my favor.

Dry fly fishing is hard. I have been nymphing lately and its really easy once its learned. Its searching out trout at various depths and speeds until you find a feeding zone. Once its found you can generally find fish throughout the day in similar areas of the river. You can get more into it when hatches start and target specific zones where invertebrates will be prior to the hatch and key in on more specific feeding. Nymphing has a simple floppy cast, an indicator to help detect the strike, and you are fishing for trout where they eat the majority of their diet…underwater.

But its not as much fun as dries. Dry fly fishing pits the angler against the trout when the animal is using all its evolution, instincts, and life history to feed. The angler is meeting the trout when it is at its best. On the Yakima…it requires anglers to be on a similar level. These wild trout reward anglers who put the time in. They want the fly presented basically perfect…every time…multiple times in a row. They make you love to hate them on the Yakima.

Other rivers and other trout aren’t as picky as our Yakima trout. I have travelled and fished all over and I can definitely state that with confidence. We have had some younger fish a little more eager to eat a dry the past few seasons…but our trout get caught several times, sometimes 50 or more, in a season…they get seasoned real quick.

Dry fly fishing has so many other things going on, its why it can be overwhelming, exhausting, but also fullfilling. It makes you cast better. But more importantly it makes you present the fly better. Which is kind of the whole point, presenting the fly crappy after a perfect cast kind of negates it all. I know plenty of anglers that cast well but present not so well. Baby wipe casts…where you gotta wipe it and try again. Or if I am a little sassy I might just call it a shit cast and tell you to redo it.

Dry fly fishing makes you play the fish better. Trout are in the top of the water column, in smaller water, which makes them more aware of their surroundings. Remember they are searching out tiny little bugs off the surface of moving water. So much goes into a trout feeding on a dry biologically. Trout are using their lateral line, gauging distance, trajectory, current speed, all these things have to happen for a trout to eat a bug off the surface. Its fucking amazing. Just to watch it…but we get to be a part of it. Trout do it naturally, it looks effortless…but it isn’t, its this complex intricate event that happens on our rivers. Knowing and understanding what dry fly fishing really encompasses, makes you appreciate and respect it, gives you a different perspective besides just a cool eat.

Its hard…and thats because as intricate as it is for the trout…its just as complex for the angler. Requiring an angler to be on their game. If the fish eats in slow water near the top of the river they can move incredibly fast…up to 24 miles and hour if they want. I’ve seen it. Remember the top of the water column has the least resistive current which means when trout move…they fucken move…and not just one direction. They change directions especially cutties. If they find the middle of the water column now they have current, depth, and can reach higher speeds with the help of the flow, if they hit the bottom third now they have slow deep water and space to move with less resistance again. Its why when trout go deep they bulldog, change direction a lot, and run. When an angler hooks a trout on a dry they have to be ready to counter the fish in all those water types and they could change throughout the encounter.

The same can be said for other fishing methods…but nymphing and streamer fishing we are usually using heavier lines and tippet, bigger flies less likely to pop out, so the angler has a few advantages. And usually when you hook a trout deep they stay there until they tucker out. Dry fly eaters tend to be a little more spicy. I always think its because they are super pissed it wasn’t a real bug. All that work and they still get tricked. Just makes them all hot and bothered.

Dry fly eats require specific water which brings a whole other aspect to it. Knowing what water, and when, and why, and which fly needed. The weather, barometric pressure, water and air temps, season, water conditions all of that factors into a fish taking a dry. Some days its easy, others its more work. But we do get to a time of year where they will always take a dry at some point during the day, typically by May.

Dry fly fishing also has the added visual benefit. You don’t see nymph and streamer eats, you react to nymph strikes, and you feel streamer eats. It makes the set on those methods easier. Dry fly fishing requires the angler see and time the set correctly to the type of eat from the trout. Be it a slurp or a giant crush of the fly. How fast or slow, how deep or shallow the set has to be is initially determined by a visual que. But the angler also has to feel the set. Almost anticipate it. Because you typically see the fish coming and have to watch the eat to get everything lined up just right…it makes the angler have to gauge time, current speed, and many of the same things the trout has to factor.

Dry fly fishing brings the trout and the angler to their highest levels…and puts them on an even playing field and lets the two encounter each other and hopefully meet. That is why dry fly fishing is my favorite. It requires all the parts and pieces of both the river and trout; and angler sides of this activity to come together. It truly is amazing. Not easy, always challenging, but rewarding.

I had my first trout of the season take a Skwalla Friday. It was fucken magical. It has been since early November. I lose my absolute marbles when they take dries and I couldn’t believe it. And it was a male cutty which just made it that much more special. Its starting…its spring time on the Yakima anglers. Bugs are starting, trees are budding, things are starting to warm, here we go anglers. Trout season.

See ya riverside.

Tamarack