Saturday, September 27, 2014

South Park Shenanigans

Earlier this week I was able to get out again and experience some of the great fishing central Colorado has to offer, specifically the South Park area. There are numerous places to fish within South Park but in all the time we've spent here I've only sampled two of them; Spinney Reservoir and the Dream Stream below the reservoir, at least those are the only ones I’m going to tell you about.

In the weeks prior my fishing time has been spent on another stretch of the South Platte but it was time for a change. The fishing has been really good at Deckers and should only get better over the next couple months but the crowds have been a bit encroaching.

I fully expected a good crowd at the Dream Stream this week but was pleasantly surprised. Upon my arrival around 9:15 there were only two other vehicles in the parking lot. Even more surprising is that there were never more than 5 vehicles in the parking lot all day. In all the days I've spent fishing here I've never ventured out of sight of the parking lot. This is partly due to the fact that the stream meanders through a nearly flat meadow and partly because there is no need to venture too far. You can pretty much count on one or more good trout coming from the stretch adjacent to the parking lot. Two of the biggest stream trout I've ever hooked came from that stretch of river while all the occupants of the numerous vehicles in the parking lot were well out of sight.

I made the trip up hoping to find some of the spawning lake fish that annually make the jaunt out of Eleven Mile Reservoir. On the drive up from the Springs I had visions of hefty kokanee and brown trout. If you've been following along lately you may have the idea that crowds and fishing don’t fit together well with me. Actually that’s not completely accurate. Friendly crowds a just fine and that is what I've come to expect at the Dream Stream.

An early parking lot encounter is a prime example. The young man I met there while rigging up said he had been hitting the river weekly for the past few waiting for the lake fish to move up but so far it hadn't happened. Well there went my chance at a first kokanee, c’est la vie. The drive up was worth the price of gas. The aspens are starting to turn and some of the views are spectacular. Driving over to Deckers the past few weeks the scenery is pretty nice but a good portion of the drive the views are obscured by the forest. Another stretch the landscape is still scarred by a fire that took out a good portion of the area in 2008. All in all it’s still driving around the Rocky Mountains but it lost some of the charm after the burn. It had been so long since making the drive to Spinney and I had forgotten how beautiful the drive is from Divide on.

The fishing usually works out well on this section of the South Platte no matter the conditions or time of year; it’s known as the Dream Stream for good reason. Typically, for me at least, a good number of small rainbows and browns can be taken nymphing. This day was no exception in fact I can’t even accurately estimate the number of trout under 12” I landed throughout the day. This seemed to be the same story for those anglers I spoke with as we passed each other heading to our next favorite holes. This isn't one of those streams where you set up in a particular run and fish through the day. Most everybody that has spent much time fishing here has a few runs they want to hit through a day of fishing. It makes for some jockeying through the day but also contributes to the friendly atmosphere.

Several years ago I recall a man spending close to an hour just watching me not catch a single trout from a huge pod of risers in the bend on the upstream side of the parking lot. After I became frustrated and relinquished the bend we chatted about what the trout might be feeding on. I admitted that the trout were most likely feeding on the tiny Tricos but that the smallest fly I had was a size 18. I was just hoping for an overzealous feeder that would take my fly anyway. I took a seat at the picnic table he had occupied and watched as he purposefully waded into position and quickly landed two respectable rainbows. Noticing I was still there he waded out, came over, gave a copy of the fly he was using and relinquished the bend long enough for me to land a fat 15” rainbow. Knowing better than to look a gift horse in the mouth I gave him back the bend and moved upstream to another pod of risers. There are few places that kind of camaraderie between strangers ever takes place.

Another afternoon I spent over two hours sharing a good bend with a total stranger. The bend was loaded with feeding trout in a seam taking emerging BWOs. This time I had the fly, a soft hackle that was taking the feeding trout. He had become frustrated at a number of refusals and asked if I wanted to try for them. I took a 12” rainbow on the first downstream swing and shouldn't help but pass on the favor I had experienced the year before. We traded off turns taking a trout each until we had worn the pod out and they stopped feeding.

The weather forecast predicted a shower around 2 pm which usually produces some kind of hatch. The wind which is often brutal at worst and annoying at best was just a breeze throughout the morning. Multiple hatches made for interesting fishing with Tricos, BWOs and midges hatching in alternating waves. Trying to keep up involved paying very close attention and making multiple fly changes. The effort was rewarded with several small trout and a hook up on one hefty specimen I never saw before it buried into a heavy patch of vegetation and broke off. It came during the last hatch, Tricos just before the wind set in. When I say set in I mean set in. Fishing dries became impossible. Not only could you not see the tiny artificial on the water, the trout had stopped rising given that all the naturals were being driven down to Eleven Mile on the 20+ mile per hour steady wind and into the canyon on the gusts that had to be pushing 30.

Being somewhat of a veteran of these conditions changing to a hopper dropper rig came quite naturally. It was quite natural for the trout too. Without skipping a beat the marabou pheasant tail style nymph began catching right away. The wind usually signals lunch time and being a fan of lunch I heeded the signal before heading up toward the dam.

The wind did not die down as hoped when the clouds thinned out making it difficult to spot the feeding trout taking emergers near the surface. I fished up one of the riffles taking small trout from the creases in the vegetation occasionally taking a 12-14” specimen. One of the stone current breaks that cross the river yielded a pair of the better trout. Catching good numbers of small trout can put you in a bit of a happy trance that makes you laugh inside every time one takes. It’s a situation that can cause you to readjust your expectations to tinkering with the little ones and that’s okay. For a fisherman catching a multitude of small trout easily beats most things in life especially a day at work. I found myself laughing out loud every time the hopper darted to the side or straight under the surface signaling another take.

Working my way methodically upstream I set on yet another take when the hopper stopped to find real weight, the kind of weight that immediately re-readjusts your day. As I applied pressure a golden streak in the 18” range bolted from beside the boulder it had been nestled next to. That’s when the shenanigans began. Usually when fighting a big trout the first one to make a mistake loses the fight. When the brown trout took off on a run downstream the lose line shot up around the rod butt. I turned and stumbled but somehow kept my balance. As a feeling of panic set in about the line around the rod butt the brown turned and headed straight back at me giving me an opportunity to unwrap the line while stripping in line as fast as I could. It wasn't pretty but a pair of jumps and a few strong runs later I had a very healthy, brightly colored brown trout in my net.

After a few snaps and release I took a deep breath and went back to tinkering with the small eager trout. Going back to catching numerous small trout after a really god one there’s a persistent feeling that it could happen again, that is one of the reasons we spend so much effort at fishing. Truth be told catching small fish is fun but deep inside we all want to hook and land big fish and a lot of them.

The wind continued and so did the small eager trout. Pushing on upstream it was if every small trout in the river was on the feed. It’s times like this that it makes you wonder if the larger trout are feeding also but they can’t get to your flies before a smaller one gets there first. I reached a small area where the trees lining a long lazy bend blocked the wind from the surface of the river. It was easy to spot pods of three to five small trout holding along the edges of the thick mats of vegetation. I couldn't help but laugh with exuberance as I cast to these pods every trout in the group would dart toward the nymphs to be the first to get there. It was here that on twice two trout were hooked at once, one on each nymph. On one occasion I had three hooked for a few seconds when one also took the hopper!

The wind was really starting to wear on me so I made my way back to the truck for a short breather and a snack. When I opened the door and stepped out of the wind I realized just how loud it had been. I also realized that my face was getting wind burned. For several minutes I considered packing it in for the day but it was just 3:30 and sunset was still quite a while away. I had landed more trout through the day than I had landed over the past two years, by any standard that has to count as a good day. The season is coming to an end though and other plans are going to keep me off the water for a couple weeks so the decision was made to press on until sunset when the gates are locked and the park is closed for the night. To combat the wind and sun burn I greased up my face and neck one more time with sunscreen and headed downstream one more time.

My plan was to hit an area of carefully placed boulders beyond where I had fished earlier in the day. Plans don’t always work out whether you’re fishing or just living. Before I could get half way there my bum knee started rebelling abruptly and intensely letting me know the day was coming to an end sooner than I had hoped. I hobbled to a nearby short, steep bank and had a sit resting and letting my legs dangle in the cold current for several minutes. The cold water felt good and helped with the cramping pain that strikes out of nowhere much more often than I’m agreeable with. You've heard it before and you’ll hear it again; getting old is not as much fun as it could be in some respects. In other respects getting older can be a good thing. When I was younger and much more oblivious to pain slowing down for the day would have been out of the question. Being a little less resilient than in years gone by I decided not to continue the hike and just sit for a while. A light feeling of melancholy self-pity set in as thoughts of mortality suddenly consumed my day. These feelings have nagged me far too often the past five years; the realization that a little hiking is tolerable but the days of hiking up the side of a mountain to secluded fishing are over.

Sitting, studying the current a flash caught my eye along the far bank. It’s funny how the flash of a trout can help a fisherman with a rod in his hand shift gears from self-pity to excitement in the blink of an eye. At some point the wind had subsided to a tolerable level, snapping out of that dark state it came as a pleasant surprise when I realized how calm it had become. I could also see a pair of small trout feeding along the same bank where a good number had risen to a dry before the wind had kicked up earlier in the day. I thought about retying the leader and switching to dries again but the wind hadn't subsided that much.

I pulled the leader from the reel foot letting it catch in the wind and removed the lower nymph from the guide where it was hooked near the tip of my rod. I peeled line from the reel and made short flip casts working more line off the reel. Standing up I worked my way out to where my casts and drifts could reach the far bank. It only took two casts to realize the wind hadn't abated enough to consistently cast a three fly rig thirty feet without some gnarly leader tangles. Shifting expectations I shortened the line and re-positioned to work the deep slot closer in and upstream.

At the head of the slot the bottom drops out to a deep trough. On the shallow side of the trough is a heavy patch of vegetation that reaches almost to the surface. I worked the near, shallow side of the vegetation with several casts as the wind picked up again. Feeling confident the near side had been covered I moved closer and made a cast to the other side of the vegetation. There are times, and they don’t come very often but an overwhelming feeling just tells you that a good trout is in that spot. Sometimes it works out that it’s nothing more than a feeling, this was not one of those times. At that certain spot, at that certain time the hopper stopped dipping under the current.

There’s a difference between the way a small trout takes and the way a big trout takes. Most often small trout take with all the vigor they can muster, sometimes moving a great distance. Older, bigger trout learn to feed with a minimum of movement and calories burned. Instantly I could tell this was a good size trout. I set back with minimal force and immediately felt the weight of the trout that completes the hook set without risking breaking the delicate 5X tippet. The hefty rainbow made its first surge against the sting of the hook coming near but not breaking the surface.

There’s an immediate mix of panic and joy that comes over you the instant you realize there’s a big fish attached to the end of your line. The panic comes from the fact that it only takes one mistake to lose a good size fish especially in a strong current. The joy comes from hooking a good sized fish.
Unlike before there were no shenanigans just what seemed like a very controlled coercion getting the trout into the net. There are times when landing a fish like this can go on for what seems like an eternity. Instead it went more like a choreographed ballet. Using the current and the length of my rod it was like leading a fat man to a medium rare ribeye. Just like that I had a second big trout in the net. Big is a relative concept in fishing but when you've spent the day catching mostly 6-10” trout anything over 18” is big.

After releasing the rainbow back into the river I took a few minutes sitting on the bank. Letting the slow, easy current wash past my legs I started to reexamine my earlier mood. In the words of John Gierach “They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things and, suddenly they’re just not that big a deal anymore”. After all I was sitting on the bank of a trout stream where I had landed more trout in a day than I had in the past two years. I may not be able to hike up the side of a mountain as in days gone by but I can take a short hike on one of the best trout streams in the country and land a pair of trout that would make most fly fishers jealous. Who wouldn't like to get in on those shenanigans?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lamson Liquid

After seeing a post by Waterworks-Lamson on Facebook I immediately became very interested in one of the new reels they are offering. In the past few years I have used two of their reels. The first was a Velocity which due to a massive swarm of mosquitoes was left on top of my fishing vehicle at the time of departure from the Madison River one evening. Don’t ask it is far too painful to describe. Don’t you just hate when that happens. For the short time it lived with me we had a great fishing relationship. The replacement of that reel is a Guru, it may be a step down in price but the quality is still there. I don’t know about you but for me the most important part of a fly reel is the drag and Waterworks-Lamson has one of the best in the biz.

At any rate after doing more looking at the reel online I got it set in my head to get my hands on one or a 3 pack and see how it feels.

The plan was to get it on the water earlier this week and do some field testing but alas it was not to be. After contacting our local fly shop several times Sharon and I finally made an impromptu stop by. The order had been placed by the shop and part of the shipment had arrived, the new Remix but the Liquid reels were not with the shipment. The proprietress of the shop made a call to Lamson while we waited. The good news is the Liquid reels are in production. The not so good news is they will not be available until mid to late October.

One of the 3 packs is reserved at the fly shop with my name on it. I’ll let you know how it is as soon as it sits in my hot little hands.

If all this seems like a big old Waterworks-Lamson commercial it might be I don't know yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fly Reel Drag, Who Knew?

Do you really know how to set the drag on your fly reel? I certainly didn't!

We all know the old adage about learning something new every day the trick is to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to new knowledge. So I have to wonder if this knowledge has passed by at some point without notice or it just didn't soak in. After 50+ years of fishing I was certain I knew at least the basics on how to set the drag on a reel. Okay so I do have the basics it's the nuances that have evaded me until recently. You take the lightest break strength of your line, leader, tippet etc. and set the pull somewhere below that point, right? Wrong!

For years I have been playing the fool, as the young kids say, at setting my drag. I can’t even tell you how many times I have been the frustrated fisherman in the “big one that got away” story. Usually during a long day of challenging fishing I end up hooking into the fish that makes the day worth the effort only to have it break off. I usually just tell myself it's the hooking that matters. What a bunch of bunk! Then there are those days when landing a good size trout seems impossible and again the “big one” gets away. Thinking back on the subject this has been far and away more so the case with fly fishing using medium to light tippets than with spinning or casting gear. Part of the reason for this, I now understand is that the maximum drag settings on most light and medium duty spinning and casting reels doesn't come close to the break strength of the heavier lines used on them. For decades the maximum drag setting has puzzled me but the light is now on!

So on to the point of this little informational blurb. A couple of weeks ago while doing some reel research in preparation for a purchase I ran across an article. While reading through the text (scroll on down to the heading Range of Drag Adjustment) an interesting fact came to my attention; the actual pull at the tip of a bent rod is approximately double the pull at the reel. In other words if you set your drag at 1 pound at the reel the actual amount of resistance on the tippet when you hook a fish and the rod bends is 2 pounds. Likewise 2 pounds become 4 pounds, 3 pounds becomes 6 pounds and so on and so on. Where has this information been all my life? If you already knew all this why didn't anybody tell me? This explains quite a bit and answers the burning question in my mind as to why I've lost so many good size fish over the years to tippet failure.

I did an Internet search and couldn't find a single article, blog post, blurb or any other mention of the figures in the article listed above in relation to fly fishing though it did turn up some similar information on spinning and casting reels. The search did uncover quite a few articles that recommend setting the drag just tight enough to prevent free spooling when the line is pulled vigorously. I suppose this is a very workable course of action in a small number of situations where conditions are ideal. In this instance ideal would mean the hooked fish has no access to thick weeds, timber, rocks or other entanglements and there is no access to swift current. I can’t remember being in too many ideal situations when fishing. Actually all these years later I can still hear Jimmy Houston saying “if you’re not getting hung up you’re not fishin’ where the fish are”.

The past two Tuesdays I've had the great fortune to be able to get out and test my new drag settings. The first time out since finding this information I was able to land a trout that had been giving me fits in the weeks before. Granted it came to the net on the other side of the river but it did come to the net. Yesterday I spent some time on the Dream Stream in the South Park area of Colorado. For the most part it was a day of small trout on an assortment of flies but there were two exceptions. I will be sharing the details on those two exceptions later but for now I’ll just say, I like the new drag setting.

The only thing is now I have more questions. How much pull weight does a fly line add to the fight in stillwater? More importantly how much pull weight does current add on a fly line and it is significantly different from that added by monofilament? How much does the length of the rod, number of guides and rod flex affect pull weight at the tippet? How much does the full length of a fly line affect the weight of pull as opposed to the same length of monofilament? The answers oh quite a bit or not much probably won’t suffice. I want numbers in pounds and or ounces.

Keep an eye out for more. Now where do I get the right kind of scale for this type of thing?

Sunday, September 21, 2014


So lately I've been doing a great deal of the regular maintenance that comes along with being a home owner. Specifically there was an area of siding that needed replacing. Done. Then there comes the painting that is inevitable. Not quite done, I've run out of paint of that particular color.

Meanwhile, in my off time I've been doing some fishing and going through my tackle liquidating and acquiring to hone my fly fishing arsenal. Mostly I sell rods and reels that have accumulated over the years but haven't seen enough time on the water. I don't know about you but it seems a waste to have perfectly good fly tackle sitting around and never getting to the water. So after it's sold I take the pennies on the dollar acquired from the sales and purchase rods and reels that I think are better suited to the fishing I do, usually used for pennies on the dollar. This is a kind of fly fishing restructuring process. But every once in a while a finatic like myself wants to acquire a new piece, or two of equipment.

During the restructuring process I found a new offering from my good friends at Waterworks-Lamson, well good friends only in the sense that I really like their reels, we don't know each other personally which is actually too bad because I think they would like me. Anyway........ The other day I mentioned this smoking deal to my good friend, accountant, wife/girlfriend to which she said "We should go and check them out I think that would be perfect for you." The only issue is they are not in our local fly shop yet.

I've made calls and the reels are on the way somewhere between Idaho and Colorado Springs. I hope they will be in tomorrow.

But back to the jest of this post. When I mentioned I needed more paint to finish the outdoor painting of the house Sharon replied we did not have the funds at the moment it would have to wait a while.

So I asked her "You mean we don't have the lose funds for paint but you want to buy me a reel?"

Her reply was "That's about it."

Man I'm glad my wife has her priorities straight!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Breaking the Drought, Fishing Drought

For the past couple years I've been trying to work myself out of a fishing drought, the kind that comes about ever so often for those of us who's livelihood doesn't depend on it. Life gets in the way and fishing time seems to fade into the woodwork. For me this one was brought on by a move from Wyoming to Colorado Springs and yet another knee reconstruction. Before I knew it months had passed between outings, something that has been a rarity for decades.

You would think that just getting back on the water is all it takes to break that kind of drought. In a way it is because just being in or on the water is far better than life in the concrete jungle that is urban sprawl. After growing up and spending the majority of my life in rural north Texas just living in an urban neighborhood is difficult enough. Take away the ability to get away from it on a regular basis and wet a line and a level of insanity starts to set in. The houses and buildings start to close in, spaces seem smaller than they really are and this fishaholic gets a bit grumpy.

Luckily things have started to ease up a bit and I've been able to get out weekly for the past month. The first time out recently things were pretty exciting. Some really nice fish were stalked and hooked but rusty playing skills made landing them a more difficult proposition. Over the years I've told myself that getting a wary trout to take a dry fly is all that really matters. When getting out regularly is the norm that's true enough but while trying to break a drought it's really nice to get them into the net. Add to that the combat like jockeying for good runs on this particular river and frustrations start to build. But take a deep breath and it all works out in the end.

After being crowded out of the more luxurious runs the best plan of action is to find a river section that doesn't attract as much attention. I did that and it happened to have a pod of eager risers. The down side is that the holding pockets are small with multiple conflicting currents making good drifts difficult. The trick to fishing pocket water like this for the first time is to try and work out positioning to get a decent cast and drift without spooking every trout in the pod. All you can really do is take it easy and not get into too big a rush then hope you don't blow it too badly.

After stopping in and hitting this section three consecutive weeks I was able to land a few of the lesser trout from the easier positions. Two weeks ago a river acquaintance and I fished over the regular pod of trout and landed some of the smaller ones but couldn't induce a strike from the king of the hole. It was a nice trout that looked to be in the 18" range. After giving the hole and that particular trout a break I circled back to give it one more try an hour later.

Leaving my rod in the truck I made my way down the bank hoping that at least one of the earlier risers would still be there. I was thrilled when I spotted the one good size trout we couldn't get to take sitting right in the prime feeding spot. Ten feet out from the outer bank of a long slow bend in the river there is a rock, boulder really, the size of my easy chair that splits the current. Ten feet or so downstream from that boulder is another that is slightly smaller than my easy chair right on the bank that causes the current to turn back into the river. To add another wrinkle there is an ottoman sized rock flanking that boulder that splits that current. The trout was sitting just ahead of the ottoman in the back edge of the eddy caused by the front boulder off the bank.

After returning from the truck with my rod I decided to set up in position and either land this trout or put it down and do it on top. By this time all but remnants of the earlier BWO hatch had disappeared. The trout was clearly visible just off the bottom and clearly feeding but seldom on or near the surface. There was a smattering of BWO's, caddis, PMD's and midges on the water and in the air. Cast after cast it would move slightly to inspect certain patterns and even follow some for several feet closely inspecting the fly until the conflicting currents dragged the fly away or the wary trout just decided it the fly wasn't right.

Two hours, countless fly changes and even more casts later that trout took a BWO E-Merger with all the confidence of a steady riser taking on the first cast. In the course of those two hours I had settled my feet between a pair of large rocks. Once hooked the trout immediately shot out into the main river but try as I did I could not get my feet to move from where they had become lodged. As the trout turned to head downstream I applied pressure and held it in the rushing current for a short time before the size 20 hook pulled lose. The trout sank into the current and disappeared.

I returned to the river this past week with intentions of trying for this trout again but found another angler already fishing on that section of the river. Not wanting to crowd the already present angler I headed on downstream to one of the more luxurious runs that was surprisingly open. It wasn't too long before being crowded out of that run so I returned to find this section unoccupied.

Like the week before I took a quick look sans rod to see if the trout was present. It didn't take long to spot it finning gently just where I hoped it would be. Returning with rod in hand several minutes of observation revealed the trout feeding just as it had been the week before. The question was what fly to try first when a small caddis whizzed by on the light breeze coming down canyon. Question answered. Leisurely Stringing up my rod another and yet another caddis flew by confirming fly selection.

Getting into position I dropped the fly short on the first cast. Stripping more line from the reel I false cast to the side confirming the proper length for the second cast which landed right on the current seam as intended. As if in slow motion the trout lifted from the bottom, turned and took the #16 tan elk hair caddis with complete abandon. The usual antics ensued and for the next few minutes nothing else existed in the world.

Weeks of effort were on the line, literally. I followed as it moved from one current seam to the next trying to get downstream of my position. Every time it leaped I held my breath until I could feel the line tighten, the rod bow and the weight of the trout was once again transmitted into the palm of my hand. Using a limber, 3 weight rod and 6X tippet pressuring a hard fighting trout across current wasn't an option. Eventually I was able to herd it all the way across the river into a slow moving side channel.

Even with a long handled net far larger than I normally carry while wading this feisty rainbow was able to avoid three attempts at netting it before it finally rested in the soft nylon bag. Shaking inside normal breathing rhythm returned as I admired the bright colorful trout that had eluded capture until this moment.

After snapping a pair of photos I eased the net into the calm pool where we had ended our struggle. It took only seconds for the trout to reorient itself and swim out of my net. It had been just over a year since I had landed a hefty trout. It had been much longer since a single trout presented such a challenge. It always strikes me how tunnel vision sets in during certain fishing situations. The rest of the day went well enough. I did hook and land other trout, one of which was the same size and fight but it didn't carry the same impact. I don't think I'll return to that river for a while, there's really no point.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stream Etiquette? We Still Do That?

Not to get all nostalgic or anything but there is a point. As a youngster I remember one particular side pond to a rural lake on the edge of Grand Prairie, TX. My dad liked this pond because it was as close as we could get to a sure thing for a long string of “eatin’ size” bluegills. Dad worked a good portion of overtime, far beyond the regular 40 hour week in order to keep us in the chips. On a rare Saturday when he wasn't working we set out just first after light for this little side pond in hopes of a couple hours fishing and s mess of bluegills for supper. On our arrival our hearts sank because there was already someone in his favorite spot.

Being one who didn't suffer disappointment very well I suggested we crowd in next to the other man and catch our fish. Dad explained in details I can’t remember nearly fifty years later but what I do remember is this. On a public piece of water he who gets there first gets the sweet spot. This is what dad called fishing manners. Our options were to wait him out, fish the other pond or pack it in. These days we call it etiquette though I’m not sure the entire fishing community knows what that word means.

Over the past few weeks I've been fishing one of the better known trophy rivers not too far from here. Last year I was able to get up there this time of year and did fairly well. For the most part the people I encountered were quite affable and courteous. This year has been a whole different story, so much so yesterday may well turn out to be my last trip for a while. Over the years I have had the great fortune to fish in 16 different states from Florida to Washington. I can’t even count the number of days spent on the water let alone the hours. Yet in all that time I have never encountered more “river rudeness” than I have on this piece of water.

In four outings I've had three encounters where anglers have come in on the top of a run and started fishing down toward me. One encounter when a man slogged around behind me at a quick pace and started fishing again less than 30 feet away through the run I was working. Last week I had a young fellow shoot past me at a dead sprint so he could set up in the run I was headed to. When I broke through the bank willows to confirm he had taken the run I was after I found him hunched over catching his breath. There was however a moment of pure satisfaction later on when “Usain Bolt” took a dive after hooking a trout that circled around behind him. I did ask if he was alright once I stopped chuckling inside. I know it was naughty but sometimes a guy just has to laugh at karma. As a side note I ended up landing as many trout as I had originally hoped from the riffle and slot just downstream. I just had to rig up a bit differently and change out my fly selection.

I have to ponder what it is that causes some anglers to forego etiquette, any kind of etiquette, when just plain common courtesy should prevail, forget formal stream etiquette. I’m not saying that I've never caused anyone grief on a river but in every case it has been an honest mistake and I go out of my way to apologize. I understand newcomers to the sport making etiquette mistakes but they are easily spotted and I don’t mind giving them a quick overview, and almost always without any four letter words.

The individuals in question here, that really get my goat as the saying goes, all appeared to be angling veterans and in more than one case professional guides with sports in tow. I often wonder if on these famous streams there is more “grip and grin” envy than some people can handle. It is no secret where the sweet spots are on such famous rivers. I suppose envy is just another byproduct of the instant gratification syndrome. You know what I’m talking about, that urge we all fall victim to, it’s human nature. I want it all and I want it now; the expensive rod with a high dollar reel and the perfect fly so I can catch the one fish that will make all my friends jealous. It’s no excuse for river rudeness.

I am pretty sure that the specific culprits of which I speak won’t be reading this but for the rest of us. How about we spread the word. If someone is working a run stay back and see which way they’re going and don’t cut them off. If the urge is too great then at least speak whit the angler working the run. You might be surprised at their response to a few kind, inquisitive words. Personally I can’t ever remember refusing to share a run with someone who asked. If they do agree keep some distance and don’t crowd without being invited. I would have been happy to surrender the run that was invaded yesterday if the fellow would have just asked. That way I could have worked the risers I was working toward before he waded right into them to high-stick them. Seriously if the angler you’re cutting in on can hit you with a 30 foot cast YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!!!!!!!

Rather than confront these “princes” I often just hit the next spot that was on the daily agenda. But there are exceptions and they know who they are when it happens. I have found that a few of them think they own the river because they pay taxes, yes I have heard that one. Seriously? You can have it when I’m done, I pay taxes too you know, we all do!
Then there was the guy who thought I was working the water too slowly. This ain't golf buddy cool your heels. He blazed by upstream at the pace of a guy who had a very short life expectancy. Who knows?
Let me not forget the fellow who came blazing downstream chucking a streamer and worked right up into the space I was casting into. In his defense, a flimsy defense but a defense, he never looked up from what he was doing to spot me even from 30 feet away. When I asked him what he thought he was doing he said “it’s okay we’re not fishing for the same trout!” Whaaaaaaaat? My reply was “No my friend you are wading through the risers I was targeting!”
Anyway, you get the picture.

Don’t get me wrong it hasn't all been bad on this famous river. Quite a few trout have been hooked by yours truly and some have even made it into the net. I also made a very good acquaintance last week and we ended up fishing together for over two hours taking turns on two pods of risers. He was working downstream and I was working up. We stopped at a good separation and discussed the situation. He landed a nice trout on a nymph and shared his set-up with me. I spotted the risers while we were chatting and I shared the pattern of the day with him. All in all it is encounters like this one that keep me from losing my mind on the river. This all happened in a section of the river far away from the “Usain Bolt” incident that same morning.

Okay rant over.

On that Saturday long ago we hit the next pond over. As it turned out we ended up catching nearly as many bluegills that were just as big as we would have expected from the other pond. It was plenty enough for the fish supper dad promised. Go figure.