Friday, March 21, 2014

Starting Over and Over

Executive summary:
Baetis, caddis, stones are doing the heavy lifting. Days are either non-stop action or super slow with little in between. The rainbows have redds out so watch your wading.

Full write-up:
Spring is here on our calendars, though it's been here on our thermometers for six weeks already.  Local reports are saying that the last "major" system pulled the nails out of the coffin for this summer but comparing flows to last year doesn't give me much relief. A few pictures from recent stops on the "T":

It took me several years to overcome my resistance to fly-fishing. In the end, it wasn't gear or access to great water that kept me from fly fishing earlier in my life. It was the prospect of starting over. I remember the day I realized that a skilled fly-fisherman could out-fish a skilled lure guy any day of the week.  That's when this hollow ache started in my gut. I was going back to the drawing board.

This past week, I felt that same visceral heavy feeling rise up in me while out with Doug Ouellette. Doug's a knowledgeable and personable guide and a generous friend so I welcome any chance to get out there with him. Even when Doug's not teaching, he's teaching.

Though we both got into some good fish, his short-line nymphing was clearly obviously slightly superior that day to the hardware I was throwing under my indo-rig.  He pulled a whole school of fish out from a run I covered first with my favorite stone and baetis combo. If you look closely, you can see Doug's signature "Sweet Pea" hanging out of the rainbow's mouth below.

Admittedly, it's a further leap from a spinning rod to a fly rod, than from an indo-rig to short-lining but it still requires a reset. I suppose if you want to move along in this journey we find ourselves in, you can't buy a house on one approach.  Best to rent a while and keep moving.


  1. Deviating from the tried and true is tough-- I still feel that way still about swinging flies with a two hander. And it's what kept me from stillwater angling for a long time... and, again, what kept me from chasing carp for many years.

    Fortunately it's more fun when there's endless opportunities to improve. Plus I think it's more like building and addition on your house-- or maybe just a bit of remodeling--you're just adding another tool to the tool-chest, not ditching them all for new stuff.

  2. Well said. There is a reason why many of the worlds experts (who fish like 300 days a year) prefer the "tight-line" method. The indicator itself controls many aspects of the drift; tight lining puts the angler more in control. Although that means a lot of practice is needed in order to understand how to use that extra control to your advantage. Mike Sexton and Doug are some of the areas best. Though I have seen a lot of guys high sticking on the river that would probably catch more fish with an indicator....takes time.

    I still use the indo rig on the Truckee quite a bit, and there will always be a valuable place for it, but I have found high sticking to be an overall more productive way to go...especially on a river like the Truckee.