Normalcy

I fished today after a three-month hiatus, and was it ever so sweet. As you may recall, I’ve been holding two jobs (I’m teaching again at a local business school), which has been both mentally and physically draining. The prospect of long drives to a cold river in winter for a fish or two at best just didn’t motivate me. Instead, I slept in on the weekends and have been reading a ton of books.

Today, with the weather improving, I felt the urge to get out and about. I hit a freestone that had been stocked recently and wasn’t that surprised to find things were pretty slow. The water was pretty cold. One angler below me landed a bunch of tiny fall fish, and others rotated in and out and were blanked.

I tightlined the usual runs only to find nothing, and it made me remember that the first stocking is usually pretty scant. I moved away from the deep run towards the tailout and finally connected with a dogged brown that was about 12″. It sure was a joy to see and feel the Thomas and Thomas Contact 2 bend again.

I headed downriver to a favorite spot, only to find two newish anglers there, and so, I headed upstream again. To break up the monotony, I put on a poly leader and swung a Slumpbuster on my four-weight. A fish absolutely slammed it, and I was happy to eventually land another brownie.

After a few hours, I called it quits and decided to head home, stopping for fried chicken and BBQ along the way. The chicken was over-salted, and the pork ribs were dry and tough. But, honestly that was all more than fine. You see, the masks were off, the weather is warming, and people just seemed, well, pretty happy and grateful to be doing normal, everyday things again. I know I was.

It was about two years ago that Covid hit all of us. Today, at least for now, it felt to me like it was at last behind us. I’m also thinking more about fishing because I’m starting to get pumped for a July Montana trip. Fellow blogger Joel Watson and I are going to fish one of the famous Livingston spring creeks, and we’re then going to head to the Upper Madison for six days. After that, Joel is going to fly back, but I’m going to spend another week at Rock Creek up near Missoula. The salmonfly hatch will likely be over, but I’m hoping for some good PMD action. If folks have any advice, I’m all ears.

The only bummer part about last year’s epic Montana trip is that it was tough to come back home to the too-familiar waters loaded with anglers. But I guess that’s why vacations are special. Fishing unfamiliar rivers is a total blast, and I’m looking forward to seeing new water again.

I hope everyone is well. Happy first day of spring….

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8 thoughts on “Normalcy

  1. so true what you say about crowded waters. i’m new to flyfishing for trout and don’t even want to bother the regulars. feel like i’m just a nuisance , i guess i’ll stick to the shad and stripers. might target native brookies.

  2. Glad your back in the water! Just emptied out my duffle bag and sorting stuff for spring. Amazing the buried treasures I forgot about!

  3. As you know, I taught high school 31 years and college for 6, so yes, the energy required is exhausting. But only if one is the kind of teacher who truly believes in both the subject and the students. I missed a month of winter fishing the Swift because of hand operation mid January, and that first day on the water in frigid February was such a relief. I really didn’t care if I caught anything that day. But I did, two ‘bows and a nice brown. So a near perfect winter fishing day.

  4. I too am glad hopefully the pandemic maybe behind us. I really like the two flies you created at the vise. The bottom black beaded nymph reminds me of something I tie. While retrieving my own stagged fly, I found a nymph on a side of a log that someone had lost. Not sure of what the patten of that lost fly was supposed to be, it resembled a pheasant tail’ish pattern but wasn’t. I tried it and it crushes fish. So, I tied to mimic tying the pattern which sort of resembles your black beaded nymph experiment except tied on a straight shank hook and the body is stripped turkey biot. Your blog is a nice read…. Phil.

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