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Thoughts on Fishing...
page is dedicated to a portion of the insight gained from being waterside
for 36 years of my 47 years in Natures Big Office. Nature
is an incredibly large office...Have a seat and enjoy!
is not just catching, it is the process and all that nature allows us
to be a part of while we are fishing. This thing we call fishing, the
sport we all enjoy immensely, is a learning experience. The sport is a
combination of great things....The dynamics of the river and surrounding
landscapes, the cast, the bugs, the swing, the drift, the flora, fauna
and birds, the camaraderie with others and conversely, the solitude of
knowledge I have gained over the years is a compilation of personal experiences
from leaning over the shoulders of others, trial and error, 10 mile walks,
twenty mile drifts and asking questions. Although I would like to give
myself credit for all the knowledge I have... that would be fairly egotistical.
So with all that said....Help the youngest feel welcome and if you can't
be friendly to the fellow fisher, don't say anything at all
suggest you experience being waterside in reality. Make it a point to
visit a different watershed each year while continuing to fish your favorite
home waters on a regular basis.
Jack Mitchell, The Evening Hatch
Below are a couple 'thoughts on fishing' .... more
drifting, the sun setting in the west. Glare on the water is a golden
toned negative, the visual hard to comprehend. In the flow at seven
miles per hour you feel you are motionless, on pause, in a time warp
of water and sky.
trout inhale twilight drakes, the water erupting like popcorn at each
rise. Bats dive and weave picking off the big mayflies. The fading light
projects a sense of urgency to the drifter, yet, at the same time, it
is calming too.
into Tailout Grande is a good time to clip the hook.
the hook allows multiple takes and thus more gratification. As if the
fishing is virtual. Yet it isn’t. The caddis are thick and the
trout will eat the after dinner mint, but they are focused on the Rib
Eye, and they are in rare form. They seek the drake, the cache smorgasbord
after a long winter and spawning ritual. They need the drake, the clockwork
hatch appearing when it is time to revitalize the redbands after the
hard work they have endured.
free, the glare is gone. The lack of urgency is pinnacle. No visual
at all, just the sound of late night gulpers and the Caddis. Caddis
so annoying but in the same breath pleasant as they swarm the headlamp
and face. The fly is under tension and casts are made selfishly to the
sound of feeding redbands which should never be taken for granted. Thank
you. Nothing virtual, just nature unfolding.
A March Brown Afternoon
day was filled with change. The clouds moved through quickly with bursts
of sun here and there, yet no wind. Not typical. The recent pattern
lately for the March brown emergence was like clockwork, bankers hours.
The regularity was so predictable that an alarm clock could be set two
days in advance. Kinda eerie. I felt a spattering of rain as I sat and
waited for the ring of the alarm. Behind me was a rookery of herons.
This prehistoric bird is both awkward and graceful in the same sentence.
The brood gawked and I watched for bugs.
Reflection is often intense when time stands still. Right then I remembered
asking my parents tirelessly about the possibility of fish in every
stream we crossed while traveling in my family's red station wagon.
I even had visions of "my pole" rocking up and down from the
swells of the pacific while fixed to the gunnels of the "mars.click,"
grandpa's boat. I remembered the back pack I put Kelsey in when she
and I went fishing - and Justin looking up at me when he realized what
a "Knuckle buster" was for the first time.
Sitting on a log near the river I could feel the temperature rise. I
wondered what it was that brought me here. Was it the hunt, or was it
the complete focus that fishing required of my senses? Or was it simply
just being there? I couldn't definitively answer the question, yet I
was there. The spiders were busy scurrying about on the rocks, red ants
too. A horse in a nearby pasture whinnied and instantly the river was
like a freeway.
First there were single lanes of bugs. Then two, three and more. Both
blue wings and march browns. For about 10 minutes not one trout showed.
It is a bit humbling when an angler realizes that the trout's feeding
patterns are for their survival and not merely for the angler. At that
point I realized why I was there - the interaction - to witness what
God created and in some way be a part of it.
The first fish rose only 8 feet from my boots in about 10 inches of
water. It was a sip and in guide like fashion I unleashed my comparadun
from it's keeper and I made a reach cast from my fanny. What followed
next was both beautiful and real. A refusal. A refusal like no other
I have seen, as I literally looked into the eye of this fish.
made no other casts that day as I chose to just watch from that point
on. The March browns came in waves and the fish responded accordingly.
The strength of the waves would last about 5-10 minutes and there were
about seven strong showings. All-in-all, about 45 minutes of fairly
insects continued to hatch after that period and the trout continued
to respond, but the fury of the hatch was significantly lighter. From
this point on, the trout actually focused more on the blue wings - a
desert like morsel - leisurely tipping up here and there for an "after
I stood up and felt my foot tingle a bit as it had been in the same
position for nearly 2 hours. The fly I had cast to that first rise was
tucked away in my box and I was ready to leave the river. I went home
and ate some dinner. It was a beautiful day.
of the Earth
good friend recently told me that river rambling is a worthy pursuit.
It was a validation of my last 20 years. Not that I needed validation,
but somehow it helped qualify my desire, twenty years into the love
affair. Perfect. Clear. Concise.
Passionate endeavors can be misconstrued. I love my work. Is that bad
or good? Most would say that is awesome. If you think it isn't 'a good
thing' to love your work, well then... It is what it is.
are so dynamic, powerful and fragile in the same sentence. The entire
earth depends on water; Flora, fauna, drinking water, spawning beds,
rainforests, shrub steppe, transportation, photosynthesis. It might
be a bit overwhelming to list all factors that watersheds affect especially
when sometimes all I want to do is double spey a fly out into a broad
riffle/run. How selfish is that?
are wonderful fisheries, but deep in my heart the freestone river is
incredibly special. An unencumbered watershed is more romantic. Simply
navigating the river is inspirational. Now let's cast a fly into likely
waters, surmise the insects of the day and release a wild and possibly
indigenous fish back into the flow. How cool is that?
stuff at times doesn't come easy and is not without a price. It is easy
to point fingers and accuse everyone else be it the big companies, special
user groups, small companies, and the like for the decline in habitat
our waterways face. With all that said, the problem we face requires
a joint effort from all user groups and we cannot continue to point
fingers. We all have to cast our fly where it counts! - jm
Pulse of Nature
rain was relentless and the river rose accordingly. The cloud cover
was dense. Thick like a pea soup. The power a river possesses as it
cuts and weaves through the landscape of the earth is truly remarkable.
So remarkable that man has harnessed this power. Who said that was a
A river like spring gushed out of a basalt wall, liking a bleeding aquifer.
I could only imagine what the headwater streams flowed like as the deluge
continued. Nestled riverside in the trees and enjoying a bit of hot
food, we relaxed watching mother nature sweat as logs and other debris
traveled the artery. It was time to continue down river as the power
of this river looked to be increasing. We boarded the drifter and shoved
At this point, the river was not dangerous under the guise of an experienced
oarsman. The water flowed like wonka chocolate. Steep canyon walls of
basalt and orchard like natural groves of scrub oak painted the riverside.The
water lapping against the side of the drifter was almost rhythmic. Therapy
comes in many forms for the open minded individual. There is something
peaceful about a river that is changing. The cloud cover continued its
'rain on the parade' with no end in sight. It seemed as we were the
only ones alive. Not a sole to be seen, nor a road to be heard. Mother
nature has a way of humbling humankind. Man has tirelessly tried to
control the natural dynamics of the earth, ultimately to no avail. There
was no controlling the river we were on as it was swelling from top
to bottom. Sheer power with no on/off switch. Beautiful yet unpredictable.
The only taming would be from the hand of the earth
The landscape was full of wildlife yet they were hidden; tucked away
under a canopy weathering the storm. Brother bear, in his infinite wisdom,
was close to a long sleep. The deer were hunkered and hidden knowing
they were easy targets while their sense of smell compromised. The cougar,
hungry and stealthy, was most definitely on the prowl. The golden eagle
and his bald cousin were drying wings in anticipation of pursuit. And
us, we were floating one of mother earth's arteries surrounded by the
pulse of nature.
Progress was quick. Not like nascar, but resembling a road rally. The
dodging of logs and other debris was becoming a nuisance. The precipitation
lightened for only a short time, only to resume at its previous pace.
This day was not made for photography, yet it was stunning in a gray
way. I felt lucky to witness such an awesome display of nature. It was
beautiful. Not picture like beauty, but life like beauty.
Where does the day go when you are surrounded by natures simple song.
It sails by, as does the hawk; almost surreal. How fortunate we are
to experience life face on. I for one, will never quit.
- River Roads
Have you ever noticed how time flies (fast) when traveling alongside
a river? No wonder my wife gets a bit nervous when I am driving as my
focus tends to sway from the pavement to the flows and turns of the
It is apparent that building roads alongside a river was not the smartest
construction as it impeded the natural progression of the flood plain;
however in the same breath, riverside roads are 'kinda' dynamic and
No matter how familiar you are with the 'river road', and no matter
how many times you have traveled its' generally windy path, the journey
always seems quicker. How cool is that?
Single spey over right shoulder. Two
Lewis Woodpecker hunting for bugs. Fall
colors transcend into the afternoon and as the light fades the vibrancy
is real and crisp. Nice run, littered with basketball plus size boulders
and mostly subsurface. A cascade deer grazes on the new growth as the
winter grass emerges like an October Caddis, just slower.
The fly swings to the hang, one strip...Single spey over right shoulder,
two steps. How many fish are in this run? I need to stop my tip travel
sooner while forming my d-loop. I wish I had a long belly on right now.
The sun has set and the fall colors don't look as sharp. Quit mending,
let'r swing. Thanksgiving is going to be fun with the whole family...
What should I get the kids for Christmas? What should I get for my wife?
Snake roll over left shoulder; man that
sucked. Oh well, let'r swing. There's a whack, let that loop go.....Fish-on!
Fish-off! Oh well... I found her.
Single spey over right shoulder, Two