Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recharging the Creative Batteries

Brilliantly marked rainbow trout
There have been a lot of check marks added to my "to do" list the last few days, so I decided to treat myself to an afternoon on one of my favorite local trout streams. After all, the weather was beautiful and I'm not sure my focus would've been very good if I had to spend the day at the easel.
Caddis flies

As I sat on the bumper of the truck and pulled on my waders, I noticed there were tiny wildflowers carpeting nearby forest floor. I wandered over to check them out and that's when I noticed a swarm of large brown caddis flies hovering above the stream. There were thousands of them... on branches... on stones... in the air... EVERYWHERE! What seemed strange to me as I watched the bugs bouncing all over the water, not a single fish rose to the surface to eat one. Okay, fine. I tied on a tandem of small nymphs and began to probe the deeper current seems for fish feeding below. It didn't take long before I had a fat rainbow splashing around at my feet. I was happy.
Spring beauty

  I don't count fish anymore. Numbers don't impress me and I'm not sure they really impress many others. If you know any fisherman, you understand the relative accuracy of numbers of fish caught and their respective sizes. They're pretty much always taken with a healthy dose of skepticism.

When I look back to my fishing experiences, I pretty much describe them as follows:
    Wild brown trout
  • Skunked
  • Got a few
  • It was a good day
  • I did so well I never stopped smiling the entire day
  • Don't even bother telling anyone, because nobody will believe you!
Today was one of those "never stopped smiling" days. I had to work for the fish, but if I put right fly in the right spot, I was usually rewarded. There were big fat holdover rainbows mixed in with the usual stockers and even a pair of pretty little wild browns. Nice.

As the sun was getting low, I worked my way back to the truck. I knew there were a couple of very large fish in the run just down from the parking area. I'm sure they've seen their share of flies (and even a few outlaw worms since I found an empty styrofoam container tossed in the streamside brush), but I decided to drift a few flies through before I called it a day. As if to end the day in appropriate fashion, I watched a large dark form shift slightly in the current as my flies passed. I lifted the rod smartly and the gin clear water erupted. The big fish shot straight in the air, slammed back to that water, and bolted downstream. My little 4-weight fly rod bucked and the reel howled.

I'm not sure how big that fish was, but when I had my hands on her, I knew I'd caught smaller steelhead! I unhooked her and slid her back in the water where she disappeared into the ever-darkening water. I clipped off my flies and walked to the truck.

Sitting once again on the bumper, I slid my boots off and breathed in the sweet evening air. Life is pretty good, I thought to myself. Pretty good indeed.



Peter Brown said...

Nice post Jim. Speaking for myself, there's no direct correlation between the "It was a good day" category and the number of fish caught. Sometimes, waving a fly rod in beautiful surroundings is all it takes to qualify!

Paul Puckett said...

Nice Jim, I agree on the numbers comments...love it when people come in the shop and say...I caught 37....who cares! 1 is enough!