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.
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.
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.
Carp fishing and permit fishing are extremely similar. If you had told me this before speaking with Justin, I would never have believed you. After talking with him, I am convinced. Of course it is not exactly the same, but if your living far from the ocean, chasing carp may scratch the itch. Justin's enthusiasm is contagious and this episode is one of the deepest dives we have had on the Wadeoutthere Podcast into all the intricate details that can bring success while fly fishing for any species.
My journey to home waters has left me staring cold, difficult winter fly fishing in the face and it makes perfect sense. It seems the things in my life that have brought the greatest joy, reveal themselves on the backside of the greatest struggles. Our move to Utah was not easy. Now that we have finally unpacked, cleaned, re-modeled and settled into our new home, I have the opportunity to fish trout streams more often and attempt to answer the question: what makes winter fly fishing special?
We were teenagers when we found the fly rods in the lodge at the bottom of the hill next to the Stillwater River. The lodge sat across from the small trapper’s cabin. Both remnants of generations gone, when the ranch we worked as children, brought men on horseback, hunting elk into the Beartooth Mountains. The lodge held the treasures of that time. Looking through the drab green packs and canvas tents and dusty boxes we found a tin fly box that brought life to the rods. In it were the large, fluffy, feathered flies that became all we had, so they were all we fished.
Getting to know the river is important for finding your own spots that you know will produce fish. Even if it is a short stop at the stream, every little bit of time on the water counts. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a trout stream, but short on time, stopping to wet a line even for fifteen to thirty minutes can add up and help build experience.