You Fish When You Can

As parents with children at home can attest, you fish when you can.

You often have a hard time cherry picking fishing windows. I would love to start fishing at noon on cold days and target evening spinner falls in the summer.

One day.

For now, there are chores, errands and family activities to accommodate, too. And, those have been very fulfilling. It means a great deal to me to have a household that encourages and supports our children.

With a morning open last Saturday, in spite of a cold snap, I fished the Farmington. I wanted to visit before Saturday’s Opening Day, when catch-and-keep returned to chunks of the river and huge crowds showed up.

Dawn started with a sustained snowfall that turned to sleet. I worked an area in the seasonal TMA and managed only one take.

It was a 16″ holdover. The fish fought well and was clearly a grizzled veteran, given the missing maxillae around its mouth. It made me have second thoughts about landing it.

I use only barbless hooks, and the fly came out quickly and easily. I wish that barbless-only would apply to more stretches of more rivers.

Spot B, in the permanent TMA, gave me a good skunking. I tried all sorts of flies. Other anglers did the same, and we all faced a big goose egg.

The only angler catching was using bait. Someone thought he was chumming, too, which is illegal. A different angler vociferously called him out on it, and that bait fisherman left.

As the sun came out, I decided to reel up. I thought I should head home. An older angler then waded in and promptly landed four fish. I was humbled.

I decided to swing by UpCountry and was able to catch up with Torrey and Wade. It was great to see them. I told them I had been fishing at dawn and was off the water by 11 am. Torrey mentioned that the action that day would just start to heat up.

So, I decided to hit one last spot, which is far down-river. I ran into stockies. Fun to see them, but they’re not much of a challenge.

It was time to head home.

There were quite a few midges in the air, the sun was out, and it was a nice change of pace from fishing in snow and wind.

The bugs were tiny.

Fly fishing is a never-ending combination of wonders and challenges. There remains much to enjoy and much to learn.

It was great to get out.

Fish on, my friends. Fish on while we still have our health and our faculties intact. Fish on, as moments on the water reinvigorate us, give us hope, and, yes, heal us.

More on the science behind all that in a future post….


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13 thoughts on “You Fish When You Can

  1. Great report Jo! I had a similarly humbling experience Friday. I saw an angler pull out 4 bows while I was re-tying after a break off. The state of that first rainbow is pretty sad. I also think more water bodies should have barbless hook regs even if they allow bait fishing to allow for safe c&r.

  2. I hate seeing that and it’s a clear sign of mishandling and barbed hooks. Here’s what the bait guys don’t understand or perhaps don’t care about; any of us could fish that way, but we would be sawing off the wrong side of the branch we’re standing on.

    Single, barbless hooks and careful fish handling is what preserves that great fishery. When I meet a bait guy who does all of the above, I’ll let you know, but don’t hold your breath.

  3. Yes, it’s absolutely essential to fish while you still have your health. I had to give up flyfishing for 15 years due to back problems, but am now back with things better. It was frustrating and depressing.

    1. P.S. There will come a time for most of us when all we have left as we sit in our rockers drooling on ourselves is our memories of past victories on the river so build them up.

        1. Bob, I’m sorry to hear what happened to you. It’s good to hear that you are doing a lot better now. You are right in saying that it’s the memories made that will keep us sane. I cherish every second I have out on the river.

      1. Bob, first off, I wish you continued good health with your back. I could not agree more, if one loves the sport like we do, it is indeed essential to find time to fish. The older I get, I realize it is a big part of what I am and if I’m not doing it, I’m a bit empty until I can get out again. Catching a trout on my own tied fly is a bonus. Just being out is the reward.

        Stay well,

        1. Thanks guys. I’ve always cherished every second I have had on the river for all of my life but even more so now that I can do it again. I have great memories of backpacking into Idaho rivers for beautiful cutthroats in spectacular locations for many years but those days are gone now. Plus the best fishing of my life while living in Colorado. At least I now can stumble along the slippery rocks in the Deerfield 50 minutes away and catch some nice ones.

          1. At least you are still getting out, Bob, with a chance to connect with Deerfield trout. You got to fish out west, which is something I’ll probably never do and you will always have those great memories. Keep at it as best you can here back east. I would like to hear how you do there on the Deerfield when you get the chance to fish it.

            Best Regards, Sam

  4. It’s awful the number of mangled fish I land in that river.Last year I caught a beautiful 21″ brown with a #6 limerick hook ingrown in it’s upper jaw.Most of the bait guys haven’t got a clue.It’s a shame!

      1. I don’t think barbed hooks ever pop out, Jo. It would take a long time for them to rust out too in order to fall out. I will never forget the time I hooked a nice trout that got away from me on the Swift. It broke me off and happened to cross right in front of me once loose and I could clearly see several strands of mono trailing it as it swam by. Too bad I could not have netted that fish as I would have done the best I could for it.

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