Past Experiences, Present Impact
It seems, when it comes to fly fishing for trout, if you endeavor to pursue this addiction and you do so long enough, one can develop a condition called revisionist history. I am referring to our clouded memories of all the bugs we use to see hatching, the trout we saw rising, and the number and size of fish we fooled and brought to the net. You remember, the good old days. I think it is a sad state of affairs when all of our trips and successes are compared to what we remember as the way things used to be. I have discovered that kind of attitude can ruin all of the great experiences enjoyed by just having the opportunity to cast a fly on a cold stream with the possibility of a trout encounter. The Mad River and surrounding spring creeks have been my home waters and refuge for the last twenty years of my life. My fishing journal entries that I have kept have been, and continue to be, deposits into my memory bank for future withdrawal when I can no longer make it to the stream. My entries have evolved over the years. I find I spend more time now recounting the friends I was with, the surrounding flora and fauna, and the fact that every time I step into the river, the water is fresh and filled with new challenges. Nothing in life stays the same, especially in a trout stream.
That being said, past experiences, for me, provide a starting point when it comes to breaking the code, for that day, when it comes to fly fishing for trout. If you spend enough time on the stream you will experience similar conditions at different times over the years. I have found that what worked before, can and does still work today. The key is to draw upon past successes and apply them to the day at hand. I guess that would be considered wisdom. Oh, make no mistake, there are days when it is difficult to find fish, that’s OK. If my memory serves me correctly, I have experienced many days like that before, even in the good old days. Contentment is the freedom to be at your best and thankful even when the situation you are in is not all it could be or possibly how you remember it to be. I am finding that my path to find contentment can involve wading through a stream.
As of this writing I am reflecting on April’s adventures and the possibilities that May might bring. First, Hendricksons and Blue Quills showed up on the Mad and at the spring creek right on time. With that, the trout responded in kind just like they always have. The only problem was that cold days out numbered the warm ones. We took advantage of every possibility we had to offer up our selection of dry fly imitations and found success when Mother Nature cooperated. Low water flows made wading upstream a breeze and brown trout were found where we thought they would be, all good! We were able to locate risers during the afternoon when Hendricksons, Blue Quills, and a few March Browns were coming off in decent numbers. The patterns that we chose consisted of Cripple Duns and Klinkhammer Emergers. All the patterns fooled some very nice 10”- 14” brownies that showed us where they were located and came to the net with a properly presented drag free drift.
As is sometimes the case, one 18” buttered color brown stole the show for me in regards to April stories. While Buck was working a rise at the bottom of the run, I was spending the time watching and learning as he cast a Hendrickson Cripple in a manner that can only be described as elegant. It was only a matter of time until the trout was in Buck’s hand. While the show was going on, I noticed what appeared to be a nose breaking the surface of the water at the top of the run. Of course, the big boy was positioned where only a perfect cast would provide the presentation necessary to fool this trophy of a dry fly brown trout. After attempting a few less than perfect casts, the day was interrupted by the need to abandon the hunt in order to chase a fly rod downstream and provide some dry clothing to my partner. If you know me, this should tell you how much I value and respect my friend. I will not leave a beautiful rising trout for just everyone.
I have a confession to make, I cheated on my friend. I am really not sure why I was alone, but at about the same time the next day I found myself staring at the same run waiting for a fish to rise. It happened! Two splashy risers at the bottom of the run exactly where Buck landed his the day before. A Henny Cripple fooled two nice 12” brownies and while this was going on, the big boy showed me his nose again. I watched for an hour and a half as the boss of the run casually ate every mayfly that found itself in the small foam line that carried them under the branches that gave the trout shade and cover from above. During that time, he splashed my Emerger pattern as well as my Henny Cripple. I must admit that on one rise I pulled the fly away before he ever had a chance to suck it down. I was excited. All this and he never stopped eating naturals. Finally, a little wisdom kicked in. I tied on an additional four foot length of 6X tippet and a size 18 Blue Quill Cripple. Two casts and one good drift later and the fight was on! I was able to control my excitement and not put too much pressure on the 6X tippet in order to lead the 18” Brown to my net. Maybe good karma came into play for the good deed extended the day before. Or I have heard it said that it is better to be lucky than good. Either way, out of guilt, I did not tell Buck about the adventure for a couple of days. He completely understood and forgave me for my transgression. He knows me and he is truly a fine fisherman and a close friend.
On the Horizon
I am sitting in the living room and the weather girl is telling me that for the first week or so of May we will experience high temperatures in the low 60’s at best. Fine, I will use this time to make sure I have plenty of Sulfurs ready for the first break in the cold weather. I know from experience and my trusty journal entries from the past that Sulfurs will come with possibly some Brown Drakes to follow. When and where can only be determined by being out there. I will share what I find and what patterns work. Let me know if I can help. Drop me a note or give me a call. Starting the week of May 10th I am excited to say that I have been invited to join the staff at ReelFlyRod.com. What an incredible local fly shop this is going to be. I am so looking forward to being a part of such a motivated and knowledgeable group of fly fishermen that are dedicated to helping to make the fly fishing experience everything it should be. If you are local to the Southwestern area of Ohio, please stop in. If not, find out everything you need to know about the fly fishing world from a fly fishing shop that has soul at ReelFlyRod.com.
If I don’t see you on the river or at the shop, I will have a report in regards to bugs and trout in the not too far off future. As always, thank you for your interest and continued support.