Dry fly fishing in Pennsylvania with the Mono Rig was one of the most lasting memories of my fly fishing journey. Casting blue winged olives in the silent, snowy, solitude of a beautiful river I’d never stepped foot in before was remarkable. I had never fished dries in the snow, let alone on the Mono Rig. Both proved to be deeply rewarding.
Beyond. How do we end up beyond that place in our fly fishing journey where most would consider reasonable. Fly fishing takes all of us on different adventures and after different fish, but sometimes we hang up on something like Mike Ward did with Permit. Sometimes, something keeps our attention and we keep digging.
Cameron is a veteran who is making a difference in the lives of other veterans in a profoundly meaningful way. His films tell the stories of how our soldiers are being healed through fly fishing. They are beautiful pieces of videography and storytelling but they also represent what is possible for people that are running out of hope. Families that need help. His work with the Iron Freedom Foundation is saving lives. I believe it.
It’s not the most famous rivers or biggest fish that fill up my mind and make me smile when I think back on all the places I have gone and people I have met while fly fishing. It is all the things I wasn’t counting on, but was hoping for. We go to where the fish are, cast out, and never know what we will find.
We've all been there. Sometimes it's hard to remember our beginnings in fly fishing. We can forget the things we take for granted. When I began fly fishing I was "dry or die" out of ignorance, not preference. The mechanics of fly line, leader, and tippet were foreign. Tactics were nowhere in my crosscheck. I wish I had learned so many things, so much faster. The importance of a natural drift. Getting my flies down while nymphing. When to switch flies, or just switch water. And so many other tools I have picked up and am still gathering. About the only thing I had going for me was reading water (thanks Pop). But that's part of the journey isn't it? Filling the toolbox. Still, being in that place, and seeking progress, made a kind word of advice from another angler that much more special.
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?
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.
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.