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Lessons Learned (Stories)

Fly fish all day
Lessons Learned (Stories)

Fish All Day – One Fish Is All It Takes

The river rolled over boulders and cut through the sounds of the afternoon so all I heard was its powerful consistency roaring in my head.  Listening to the song I took one more cast and one more look at the water I had fished downstream that continued on through the canyon, then I walked up the embankment to my truck and drove along the river towards my house or back towards the water churning in my head.  As I drove I caught glimpses of the river and of the day’s fishing trying to think of a lesson I could take away.  I had fished hard with no fish to show for it.   There was still time left.  Should I fish all day?
Lessons Learned (Stories)

Rock or Trout? How to Know For Sure.

Spotting fish is easy, until it’s not.  We all know what a fish looks like and when it’s obvious, sight fishing moves along nicely.  But mother nature has a tendency to make things tough.  There’s a reason these trout are so beautiful.  They blend in with their surroundings, and we all know “trout don’t live in ugly places.”  Rocks and stones along river bottoms combined with debris, vegetation, or branches do a good job of fooling us and helping trout.  There are lots of things we can do to help us spot fish and tell the difference but only a few ways to know for sure.  How can we be certain what we are looking at is not a rock?  There are only two guarantees.  Catch it or spook it.  Even though catching fish is the goal, both will improve your sight fishing game over time.  Here’s how…
Lessons Learned (Stories)

The Two Best Times for Experimenting on the River.

The Yakima River Canyon was on fire. We had fished above with success, but the second day the wind left us drifting more than fishing. As the day went on the wind became stronger, the casts got worse, and the drifts without fishing grew longer. But I guess that is the way it goes with fly fishing trips. Mother nature, like trout, has a vote. And I was with my brother and father. That much was always good. And we caught some fish. That is the way it goes.
Lessons Learned (Stories)

The Fish Are Always Biting – Mindset.

We had to pull the drift boat back upstream to reach the pull out. It was our first day on the Bighole River and fishing had been slow. I pushed and my brother pulled until we reached the concrete that jutted into the current and my brother handed the rope to my father and left to get his truck. It was not a far distance to move the drift boat, but combined with a slow day fishing, I stood waist deep in the cold water a bit deflated.
Lessons Learned (Stories)

Sight Fishing – Part 1. Pick Your Battles.

We saw their tails first, walking up the river with hands on boulders, and watching the water with each careful step a little further ahead. They swayed in the current. The river bottom was gold pebbles. At first squinting helped pick out the black spots on their backs. A touch of blue swirling in the seam just behind the eyes and then long red that waved like flags planted in the stones. I cast to them while my friend watched. Beautiful rainbows in a beautiful canyon. He moved back to the sand along the bank and watched while I made my casts. Standing there, he waited, then moved upstream around the bend.
Lessons Learned (Stories)

The Fly Fishing Lanyard. Why Less is More.

I started with scarcity and circled back. Throughout the years I acquired all manner of fly fishing gear and paraphernalia and most of it went in my fly fishing vest. I bought the vest when I started. It seemed like the right thing to do. And I paid very little for it. I filled the vest partly because I did not know what I needed and partly because I did not know what I liked, but as I spent more time on the river I settled into a rhythm and learned the difference. It became less about quantity and more about function. This discovery came with my introduction to the fly fishing lanyard and a realization that, on the river, less is more.
Lessons Learned (Stories)

Fighting Fish and Other Ways to Not Spook Trout.

“There’s four nice fish in this hole.” He said it as we pulled over along the side of a narrow dirt road. I did not ask how he knew. I am a bit envious of the fly fisher who knows a stream inside and out. Those that have re-caught fish. That know all their spots. Where they tuck in behind rocks or sway downstream from dead drifts. That name the trout they catch. Each day on the river is still discovery for me. Maybe someday I will know a stream that well.
Lessons Learned (Stories)

Tips for Fighting Big Trout From a Drift Boat.

“I’m hung up.” My brother looked back from the bow of the drift boat then picked up line to cast while I bent the rod deep and gave a few jerks. We were anchored at the head of a long cut bank along the Big Hole river. Wet grass dried in the breeze and a grey sky rolled against the hills beyond the bank. I needed a long cast upstream and quick mends to get the flies down and I had been bumping bottom here and there since we stopped. My father watched from his hunched forward position while I worked to get free from above him. Nothing doing. I reeled in all my line and grabbed it tight, then repositioned my efforts with the rod to work angles that might free the hook. Satisfied with my best efforts I stood resigned to break off and lose the flies. In that moment the taught line slid. A few inches maybe, but upstream. I was quiet, and then, “I can’t be hung up. The line just moved.”