We tend to plan our trips to the river when the weather is good. Why wouldn't we? If the goal is to catch fish, it sure is a lot easier to do when mother nature is on our side. But what happens when the weather does not cooperate?
Whitefish get a bad rap. They seem to find our flies at the least optimum times. More specifically, any time we are fishing for trout. Catching whitefish can be a let down because it is not what we are expecting when our attention is so singularly focused in targeting trout. The more I fly fish though, the more I appreciate the different experiences that this sport brings us. Whitefish may not be a beautiful, colored up rainbow, but that difference makes them special.
Across the river a trout is happily filling his belly with bugs.
Perhaps one of the more challenging and rewarding trout to chase is the golden. I remember as a teenager backpacking into the Beartooth Mountains and deliberately passing on some of the lakes we knew held goldens. They were brutal hikes to say the least. I am happy Dana accepted the challenge and chased those beautiful fish, and am grateful to her for sharing her knowledge and experiences on the podcast.
My introduction to the river hid me from home waters nearly all my life. I grew up in Washington State visiting Montana on vacation with my family. When I was old enough, I worked on a cattle ranch in Montana on the Stillwater River. My father taught me how to read a river and how to track deer and elk, and how to be quiet in the woods. After high school, I went to school in Colorado and learned to fly fish on the South Platte and Big Thompson Rivers. Fly fishing was a cold trout stream in the Rocky Mountains. But it did not have to be.
On the surface Phil’s experience on the Dream Stream and my own seems anything but similar. Phil Tereyla is a professional fly fishing guide, born and raised in Colorado, who loves targeting big brown trout on the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River. My time fishing the Dream Stream was twenty years ago, as a beginner fly fisher going to school in Colorado, who was more concerned with catching ANY fish, let alone big browns. But the Dream Stream gave us both something very much the same. A challenge. And a hope for a great fish, that could only be caught by embracing that challenge.
I had caught several fish already. Fishing was good. A size 16 pheasant tail with a zebra midge dropper. Most of the takes were on the midge. It renewed my confidence in this confidence fly, and in the idea that my fly mattered far less than the rest of it. My casts were landing softly. My drifts were sliding smoothly. The fly line flowed evenly with the indicator and my hooksets were effective. It all felt right. I was in the groove.