More than one month since last fishing (it was Feb 6 and I remember it well). That’s the way it goes. I don’t see any fishing “day” coming for a while – maybe early April. Hard to say. The instance here was a wedging of ~2 hours between a work day and an event in MPLS. Worked out well, economy of scale, etc. I was already at the stream, so I fished it for a while. Turned out to be pretty good medicine. A numbers day was in order and to be honest fully expected. Figured this time it had to come around. A few notes:
(1) No real substitute for orange scud. Even if I do tie it wrong (shade of orange vs cream, etc.). I’ve seen reference to the pink safety fly. Orange safety fly may rank even higher in terms of guarantees. I did some experimenting with this: put on a ball of orange dubbing with small silver bead chain eyes. No discernable difference with respect to actual scud. As some have noted this may be taken as an egg pattern. Don’t know but I do know that the orange scud catches a lot of fish. Put out tandem rigs with scud, HE, PS at first, to get some fish to hand. Within ~15 minutes found around half dozen from two holes. Relaxed then. Exhaled and slowed down a bit.
(2) Everybody and his bro and sis know this stream. By sight, by geographic piecing together, etc. It’s been reworked by HI. Maybe the most or second most HI work of any stream. Still can’t figure out just what to make of situations like this one; suffice it to say that because I fish it I appreciate it. Also can say though that it’s a tool that should be applied very carefully and with much thought; it seems we have the right folks in place to meter this. Anyway, if a guy is used to fishing water without HI and occasionally fishing water with some HI, it can throw a loop to fish a water that is nearly all HI. Felt a little eerie. Also, in an odd way found it hard to walk the stream due to few or no channel benches and a lot of rip rap. And still getting used to new vibram soles with studs.
(3) On the counting of fish: there has been some discussion of this topic lately. Let me apply the method that I figure is of appropriate resolution: (2 or three holes with 4-5 fish each nymphing) + (stray nymphed fish around 5-6 instances) + (4-5 fish on dries there at the end) ~ 20-24 trout to hand. And even more generally stated: plenty of fish in fairly steady fashion but nothing ridiculous.
(4) The weather was an interesting bit: air was cold enough to keep guides consistently frozen. Every 10 minutes I cleaned them. This seemed wrong to me because the sun was shining down on my grateful face the entire time. So it was a no glove, sunny, dry fly action day but with frozen guides.
(5) Gear notes: another instance of the Buff proving its worth. No need for a stocking hat but ball cap wasn’t quite enough. Thus enter the ball cap with Buff pulled up over ears. Comfort. Not yet convinced that the new Simms soles with studs are as solid as felt. The need to change is clearly understood. But we’ve all stood for many hours on rocks with felt as a buffer and grip… and felt solid as hell. No slipping. Don’t feel that yet with this gear. Also the boots completely fail walking the soft and muddy slopes of the new HI banks. However, it’s likely that the felt soles would fail there too. 3x long scud hooks problematic. Bend too easily. Even the Tiemcos. The long shank acts as a bending lever, I suppose.
(6) Nymphing was standard. Fish were stacked up in likely holes. Some I fished to, some I spooked. Midges in the air mid-afternoon; black and pretty small. I did the same thing I tend to do in such situations: fish the wrong fly but make it work. T. McGuane approach of giving them an Adams. A tailless Adams of #18 I think. Or maybe #20. They eat it. First three takes came right away on nice drifts; the first two simply didn’t eat the fly but must have smacked at it; the third was a miss by me because I was dicking around with something. First takes of 2012. Then got a few from some interesting water. You could say that with Salmo trutta most of the pleasure is derived from understanding where the trout are laying up. Watching the takes, esp dry fly takes. Best sequence was finally getting decent drifts at a 90-degree position to a foam tail-out of sorts; fish were holed up at the bottom and three ate the fly; two were caught.
(7) C&R only is bogus. Selective harvest better. Plenty of BNT in the world and these fish were all primed for consumption by my family. I don’t like reducing something to so-called “sport.” Almost to the point that if one has to exercise C&R “playing tag” might be better than actual fishing. Use hooks during the regular season for selective harvest. Break the hooks off for C&R. Who knows. Not even sure about it but worth thinking about.
(8) Attended Fly Fishing Film Tour in the evening. Approx eight film shorts from around the world. Some pretty somber/serious/gripping and others pretty much rock and roll fishing. The quality of the content was remarkable, i.e. the filming, imagery, information to absorb, etc. It seems like the fishing bum, rock and roll deal might be running its course in terms of interest but can’t say for sure. Variety though; something for everyone. One thing missing was carp; not a single image in any of the movies. Which is fine. More notable than the films was the opportunity for a hermit like me to be social. Spent some time catching up with Roughfisher and got to meet one of his buddies. Also met a few other folks and found it odd that I was actually being somewhat social and talking with others in a decent manner. It can happen. The evening closed with some acts of generosity that were remarkable. Roughfisher poured out a lot of flies and other gear to his friends and associates. I’ve been thinking on it and I can see that I do not deserve any such gifts but he gave them anyway. They are appreciated. And know this, as a post-script: my two boys and I walked down to the river last night, to look for the first carp of 2012. We found them. Then we took a nap on the river bank, laying there in last year’s stinging nettles with city traffic clogging the air and buzzing and bumping and crapping all over our ears and heads. I looked at my older son and reminded him that he should pull his tooth out. He’s been looking like a snaggle-toothed redneck for a while now. I closed my eyes for a bit and then he startled me back to attention. Looked up and saw a grinning kid in a brand new Redington trucker cap (from the swag lot) holding his incisor to the sunlight, his mouth rimmed crimson. He exclaimed something and then spat a big slug of blood down at the river, toward those carp.
(9) PS #2: and then, when putting the kids to bed, the younger son swallowed a marble. Took him to urgent care. He’s okay. It’ll pass.