When I was out fly fishing last Sunday, one of the comments I got was a general observation, but it’s the one I’ve been thinking about as a general river theme. One man remarked after asking me how the fishing was (not good),”Well the river is pretty low right now.”
Yes. And that means? I wanted to ask him, but held my thought to myself.
This is where my personal experience, a sheltered bubble of fly fishing innocence (or ignorance) falls into play. My lack of interaction with all things common fly fishing opinion and technical knowledge over the past 10 plus years puts me into an undisturbed, uninfluenced state of fishing spirit. 80% of what I do or know has been established through personal trial and error rather then credible advice or instruction. I’ve yet to decide if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.
The thing is, when I turned the chapter in my fishing life from metal chucker to fly floater, I had assistance in several of the basics: fly choices, casting, presentation among other beginner instruction. However, I was pretty much left to my own devices when it came to river choices, time on the water, areas to visit and reading the water. Although I had heard rumors about things like river flow and water temperature, I humbly admit, I shrugged it off. Such technical assessments I deemed best left to those who actually knew what they were doing. I just wanted to go out and fish, regardless of prevailing ‘conditions’…
Because I didn’t know any better, or didn’t care, I’ve fished rivers when they were roaring over their banks flooding into the trees and I’ve fished when everything was just a trickle with tiny little holding pools. Some of my best memories or fishing days —the type where you force yourself to stop casting because the sun has been behind the mountain for almost an hour and tying on a new fly by the light of a match starts to burn up a lot of tippet— were on rivers that may have been considered ‘unfishable’ ….sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.
The one exception or perhaps it’s a concession, is blown out rivers that have turned the color of brown hotel carpet. Although I have caught fish under such conditions, it wasn’t easy and times like those earn a humble place in the tenacious (desperate) category of a fly fishing life. Not exactly memorable, but earns points for effort.
Over the years I’ve read fishing reports that made it seem like if you simply drove to a river, tossed in some dental floss with a safety pin tied to the end you would catch fish–”"The river is on FIRE it’s so smoking good”"– yet when I got there it didn’t seem that great, or even good. Just the opposite, I’ve read reports that moaned depression like conditions in a sluggish river economy and I’ve hit the jackpot in fishing riches. (To be fair, I have ! read fishing reports that were spot on, which is always a nice surprise) So either some fishing reports are just screwing with me, for fun and all, or everyone forgot to inform the fish what was expected of them or…..fishing simply defies logical expectation.
So all of that begs the question. How much do you all put into fishing reports, river flow, optimum fishing conditions? Will a flooded river put an end to your day? Will a dire fishing report inspire you to stay home and finish your ‘honey do’ list instead?
An inquiring mind wants to know ~ Me