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River Report - May 21, 2015

Man I’m feeling good.  The rivers are in great shape.  The fishing is waking up more every day.  The shop is coming together and looking fantastic.  We’ve made that place new and now it’s time to make it old again.   Time to make it ours.  All of ours.

We’ve got the best crew of shop guys and guides and tyers that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with—knowledgeable and skilled through and through.  Tyers like Jerry Regan and the most prolific bug twister I’ve ever known, Tim Neal are filling the bins with spectacular, old, and local patterns like the North Branch Drake and parachute spinners.  I tie a mean bug, but I buy everything they offer.  And the boys have added tough, technical, modern patterns like low riding emergers and hackle stackers that simply produce when all else fails.

And I’d like to fish with my guides more than I get a chance to.  They’re my friends and they’re the guys that will be storied years from now.  They’re young, hungry, and innovative.

The shop smells and looks new but it’ll be old soon enough.  We’re breaking it in like a new boot.  I’ve got a two year old and now I understand that you just shouldn’t rush anything, but enjoy what you’ve got.  After all, that’s kinda what fishing is all about.  Slow down, appreciate, and strive to make life simple.  A fish rises and you cast.  And you hope.  Hope puts that electricity in the line and a rise and hook set seals the deal.

The early season bugs are on the wane and the next season of insects are coming on strong.  The mating flight of flies is going to be a mess, so keep your head on a swivel.  Sulphurs and popcorn caddis will be the main game, but be aware of the left over Hendrickson, mahogany, black quill, black caddis, and light Hendrickson spinners.  And be ready to toss emergers of any of those insects.

Jack picking mushrooms Jack picking mushrooms
Anna with Guide Al Anna with Guide Al
Tim with Guide Jamie Tim with Guide Jamie
Donnie's Guide Trip Donnie's Guide Trip
Donnie's Guide Trip Donnie's Guide Trip
I caught up, with Biker Dave, my fishing partner, the other night on the South.  I marched to the river and found my friend, and Sulphurs were already pouring off and there was hardly a fish rising.  Call it what you want.  There’s more excuses for a fish that doesn’t rise than for one that does.  We sat for a few minutes, and then we jumped.  You can either sit there and commiserate or you can double knot your boots and get work, so that’s what we did.   Had to go find one.

We pushed into the currents with a mission—go find rising trout.  Good anglers make their own luck.  We crept down together looking for rises.  When we found one here and there, nature gave us separation.  The rise was sparse , though the bugs were plentiful.

I got in front, which is rare for me when fishing with Dave.  He hunts grouse with a flusher and I hunt ‘em pointing dogs.   I go slowly and he goes quickly.   But not that night.   I thought I saw a good one rise from the point of my eye and watched for a while.  Nothing.  Thought it must have been a muskrat diving or a mink or something so I slipped down the stream.  And then Dave, from fifty yards behind me said, “Oh that’s a good one”.

I turned around and watched my pal cast five or six good lines and then . . . pay dirt.  What he thought was a solid twelve inch fish took his little parachute Robert’s Drake, but his doubled over rod spoke a better truth.  The fish broke for wood time over time and Dave strained his gear but just before each breakage and loss, he turned that trout.  He landed a thick nineteen incher . . . maybe twenty.  Sure looked like all of it from where I was standing.  I think he’s too humble.

Anyway, he picked my pocket.  I was as excited as he was.  Should’ve taken pictures but it’s in our brain now and the memory will be even better.  He claimed, “I’m done”, and waded down to me.  Fishing is not a competition and I was happy to see that fish even if it wasn’t mine.

But it sure made me try harder and I separated myself further again.  Looking for a good one.  I strung up with a great brook trout.  Amazing how a brick sized speck can bend a five weight.  But Dave wasn’t done.  He called me up.  “Come up here!  This is good one,” he called.

While I appreciated the sentiment, he was already in position and told him to, “Get it.”

He did and I was watching.  That fish took and leapt two feet out of the water when he set.  A fifteen incher.  A mad one.  A strong one.  Fun to see.

Of course, I’d rather it was me in that scrap, but who cares when your friend is having a great day.  I had one too.

I hear everything in the fly shop.  I hear how good it is and I hear how bad it is.  I see all the pictures and listen to all the stories.  In the end, I go every day because I have to see for myself.  I have to know the truth and, then to, I just love being on this river.

Have a great week outdoors and I hope to see you soon,