Church, School and Anti-Columbus Day
Closed out the trout season the other day deep in the valley; point of entry very close to my house. Here are a few notes in caption form.
Oldest son was my partner in this affair. It's the right school for him. Up and down valley walls without complaint. Even after I led us into some nearly impenetrable slash at the interface between sideslope and field up top, no words from him. He didn't like all the burrs that come this time of year. Never do though.
While it is true that the water is exceedingly low, my take is that all that means is that you go to bigger water (which is now small water). Fish holed up. Fish in good lays like the clump of grass on the inside corner that is about in the middle of the pic below. I watched that trout take bugs off the top. Didn't try to catch the fish. Dreamy little water there.
This was a nymphing year. Think back on some of the amazing bug life one has witnessed. This wasn't that year. It was nymphing and a bit of revival. Good, good medicine. Understanding where fish are and standing calmly focused, roll-casting over and over and mending until the drift is right. And the fish come when the drift is right. Brown trout of The Driftless Area
; a beautiful fish. A good meal. All in all an integral part of existing here for anyone who thinks about and cares about streams. You get familiar with this fish and you see it a lot.... but it doesn't get old.
Low water, but check this out. Fish everywhere in there. Holding and watching. If you can show them something you should be in good shape. It took about five or six attempts but I finally got the right mend and sent a tandem rig up tight under the root ball. Had clear vision in my mind of what those nymphs were doing. I was seeing through the beadheads I think and it was pretty clear. This fish actually put itself on the reel and took just a bit of line twice. Not a huge trout by any means. But part of things coming together.
Would you rather have your kid attempting high-stick nymphing, or listening to a liar heap false praise on Chris Columbus (if I remember correctly, this day coincided with some black mark on the calendar called "Columbus Day"), a greed-driven, murdering, lying, rapist? We'll spend the day on the water. Rather than celebrate the coming of terrorism and genocide. If Dante is right about the circles, C. Columbus is in the middle there with Brutus and Judas Iscariot. Anyway, we'll take the high-sticking as a means of fostering appreciation for history, biology, land and water. And love too.
In a burst, four fish ate an Adams #18 in a span of about five minutes. They were holding in a great seam just downstream of a small log pile. Long, buttered casts. Aggressive swat-takes.
Signing off trout 2012. A nymphing year. A renaissance. A good year.