Fishing Observations

Dropping The (Fish) Ball

by Rebecca on October 6, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~Ya...this Brown smacked me around a bit...hence the fish drop~

A common problem in life:  Sometimes we focus in on one thing and something else suffers in the process. Conventional wisdom would define this as “Dropping the Ball” and lately, I seem to be dropping my blogging ball. It comes down to a simple math equation revolving around the hours in a week. Work (blah) + Fishing = not a whole lot of time left over for anything else.

Fish of course, are the real problem here. I like to hang out with them which dictates frequent excursions away from home and computer. I believe the fish warrant a little blame. They are out there (like right NOW)…in the river…just waiting for me to come visit them. Such little and big teases they are.

Not to mention. It’s a Fall Fly Fishing Fiesta out there right now and who wouldn’t want to join that party till the lights go out? Fall Fishing will be over in a blink of an eye and I don’t want to start winter thinking, damn, if only I had fished more in the Fall. I haven’t had anyone confirm my logic, but I’m certain my reasoning falls under the “Life is too Short” guidelines.

Plus, my waders have sprung a serious leak and although it won’t stop me from fishing in the winter, I’d like to enjoy as much non-frozen toes wading as I can now. (bonus reasoning!)

Does anyone know what the job description of a Trout Bum entails?
I might want to be one when I grown up.

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When Internet and Rivers Converge

by Rebecca on August 17, 2010

in Fly Fishing

~Middle Fork of the Boise River~

When I started 2010, I listed two goals in my Fly Fishing category of life. The first goal was to be nicer, or sweet, or at least cordial to any White Fish I might discover at the end of my fly line.  So far, I’m still rockin’  a 100% success rate of accomplishment in that department. Not a single cuss word has flown at the fish who used to mutilate my flies, mainly because I haven’t caught a single Whitefish this year. HA! Hahaha…It must be karma. Last year, the more I spit and cussed at the Whitefish, the more I seemed to catch them. The minute I decided to be a kind angler who might enjoy discarding flies just for the pleasure of catching some circle lips, the Whitefish decided I wouldn’t be fun to  screw with anymore.

My second goal for 2010 was to be more sociable, get out of my solitary bubble and throw flies with other Fly Fishing anglers. So far, I’ve been at a 0% success rate on that goal, but tomorrow that finally changes. For the first time, I’ll be meeting up with someone I connected with from the online fishing community. Joe a.k.a Wolfy from the blog Flowing Waters is making a pit stop in my hometown and I’m on cue to show him some local fisheries for a few days.

Now, I’m not at all nervous about meeting Joe.  I feel so comfortable and positive about meeting Joe that I won’t even be hiding a pistol in my Fly Bag! However, I am feeling nervous about what the next two days might bring. I think it goes back to the principle of my first paragraph. Now that I’m finally meeting someone in person (good) I have a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach that the fish might be assholes about the whole thing (bad) — It’s that goal oriented Karma thing again.

I can’t help but wonder, what the hell am I going to do if the fish magically disappear for two days? I haven’t been skunked since early Spring and in my personal opinion, the next two days would be a bad time to revisit that smell. Bad for the rep and tour guide status…Thankfully, the fish schedule has us tackling one challenging river and then the Middle Fork of the Boise River. A river that if I did get skunked on I’d probably sell my Fly Rods and take up noodling for Whitefish with my pinkie.

I suppose, if I let my mind wander this direction, there are worse things than a skunking. I could crumble into a pile of performance pressure and pierce my eyebrow with a Zebra midge on my first cast. Or…I could slip on a rock while wading and go floating by Joe shouting out my last regards to life. Additionally, there’s always the threat of rattlesnake bite.  I’ve been half expecting a good chomp to my ankle over the years and the next two days would make for interesting, if not dramatic, timing. Ohhh….and a bear visit would certainly overshadow a skunking. That would be a cool test of Joe and my own running in waders abilities and if we lived, would surely laugh about later.

So many possibilities, especially when you have an overactive imagination! I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the next two days bring. I’m excited, nervous, and ready to see what the Fish Gawds have in mind for us. Stay tuned…

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Fly Fishing New Waters…

by Rebecca on July 28, 2010

in Fly Fishing

Choices On a River I can't Remember the Name

See that visual on the left there? The one of me holding my fly box open, hand running across possible fly choices? The look of intense concentration? As I went through the pictures taken on my trip to Oregon, there seems to be a lot of those same types of pictures. The, “well hell….now what” pose…

Let me back up: I went to Oregon to visit family (first priority) with the underlying possibility of experiencing some new fly fishing waters. My wonderful hosts, Dale and Barbara, provided safe shelter, a real bed (without the threat of mouse invasion) great food, skilled tour guide skills and a bonus—Dale took out his old fly rod, dusted it off and expressed he’d like to try his hand at fly fishing again with me.  Talk about a rare and unusual twist to my fly fishing. I had a fly fishing co-angler! That doesn’t happen very often in my little world.

Since Dale hadn’t been fly fishing in years, or eons, or something like that, he was unfamiliar with the fly fishing ins & outs of his area so we were both going on gut instinct rather than true & tried area river wisdom. That sort of unknown factor put us at the mercy of Fly Shops, rumors and general fly fishing hearsay.

I couldn’t help but notice that Dale held a general mistrust and overall theory about Fly Shop visits. As we would approach each new fly shop with our heads held high, Dale would remark, “Get prepared to be lied to and sold all the flies they haven’t been able to get rid of this year.” ….So either Dale was 1) kicked in the groin as a young boy by a Fly Shop owner or 2) he’s truly onto something with his theory.

That’s the problem with fly fishing in unfamiliar waters. Guess work.  So we asked the typical questions at the different Fly Shops and pulled out wads of cash to purchase flocks of flies we probably didn’t need. (That of course is part of the bargain you mentally, and financially, assume as you walk into a fly shop– the price of admission baby!) And then we waded off into the rivers with brand spankin’ new flies and hopeful attitudes.

Dale and I ~ The Wayward Fisherman on the Metolius River

We both caught fish over the week I was there. Of course, some of the fish had to be lined up head to tail to add up to one respectable fish, but we didn’t mind. Good times were had!

Here’s what I loved about fishing in Central Oregon. Everywhere you look there is a new lake or river to visit. I mean, bodies of water…just…everywhere…It’s like Central Oregon is the ultimate liquor store for anyone with an incurable fishing thirst.

The frustrating part, and I don’t blame Oregon, is not knowing all the nooks and crannies, hatches, quirks or secrets of new waters. Unfamiliar means forgoing that level of comfort felt when I approach a river I’ve previously hung out with.

Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems like visiting a new place to fish is a bit like going on a first date. Either there are sparks, or there isn’t. There’s a bit of fumbling around, unsure conversations and awkward pauses. Sometimes there’s just teasing, and sometimes everyone scores. My trip was a memorable sweet first date that I would gladly agree to a second round~ Oregon, I’ll be back ~

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~The Idaho Native Way of Fishing for Salmon~

In the last 6 weeks I’ve somewhat fallen off the Fly Fishing wagon and traded in my version of Fine Wine fishing for a 12 pack of Keystone light. First I kept a perfectly good fly rod strapped to the front of a warp speed Bass Boat and tried my hand at fishing for Smallies like the Bass Pros do it.

I had a great time, but snuck down to the river confessional later that evening to try for Bass on my Fly Rod. I discovered that if you cheat on your Fly Rod, it does forgive…

Next I left my Fly Fishing gear in the FishCruiser so I could partake in some Salmon gluttony over the next few weekends….the regular old fishing style. I’ve tried to justify this Fly Fishing infraction by the factual circumstances. 1) All my Fly Fishing rivers were closed until the end of May! And 2) If I were to march down on the riverbank to the communal fishing hole with a Fly Rod, I’d get promptly drowned.  May– Salmon season on the Little Salmon— it’s my new Fly Fishing exemption rule to a whole years worth of water swatting.

When I go up Salmon fishing, I encounter another form of fishing community that I’m not part of, but have spent time observing and asking a lot of questions. The Northern Idaho Natives engage in their own form of fishing that to the casual observer might appear ‘easier’ or less difficult than the way we are required to fish for the salmon.

I admit that I used to think the same thing –easier–  in perhaps the same way I’d come to think of Fly Fishing is more difficult than the standard variety of fishing. In regards to gaffing or dip netting, I’ve witnessed how preconceived notions can add a layer of tension over a river. However, in the last few weeks I’ve come to understand the Natives way is indeed difficult and takes skill, practise, patience and know-how that must be learned to catch fish their way. In other words, some catch a lot of fish, some catch a few fish and others barely catch any fish. Fishing, no matter the form, does not show favoritism.

Maybe I’ve been gently knocked off my Fly Fishing high horse over the last month and my horizons have been broadened by being open minded. I’ve caught fish that haven’t been on my radar, I’ve met new and interesting people from all walks of life and I’ve gathered a new respect for all types of fishing……not just the one I personally prefer.

Truth is, fishing comes in all shapes and sizes, forms and techniques and for the record, I’d like to add ’humbling hatchet’ under its definition as well.

Rebecca

Photo Credit:
By my Fishing Friend & Photographer extraordinaire Bryan Forsmann

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The Water Swatter and Other Fishy Nicknames

June 4, 2010

I could write about my last two weekends of salmon fishing, post some more gratuitous pictures of lunkers and spin some tales of pulled muscles and flying sinker missiles, but today, I think I’ll write about something else that occurs out on the banks of water. Fishing Nicknames. I think if you spend enough time in the Great Outdoors [...]

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Crowded With a Side of Steelhead

April 22, 2010

I think it was last Thursday, when I was asked, “Hey, do you want to go Steelhead fishing?” ……..35 minutes later I was in the truck and headed North. THAT is why I have the emergency grab and go camp totes. No muss, no fuss, just grab the minimal and get the hell out of dodge [...]

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The River High and The River Low

March 2, 2010

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, [...]

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Fish Faces Only a Fish Mama Could Love

February 14, 2010

Once, when I was in Alaska, I was casting into the surf, just to see if I could entice a passing salmon or two. I was delighted when I felt the undeniable pull of a fish and I quickly reeled up my prize onto the sandy beach. The thrill turned to shock when I got a good look at my bounty. If my over-active imagination serves me correctly [...]

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