An ASVAB score pointing to Army MOS Field 92 foretold of our penchant for long-range planning. That same long-range planning fuels fly tying and anticipation of the coming trout fishing season. What’s slowly becoming an annual effort of logistics planning and matériel acquisition is underway.
We’re warming up. Figuratively and literally. Spring’s officially around the corner.
Mid-March marks the beginning of the end of winter and sounds the four-week warning bell for The Club’s annual auction, where we’ll donate cold hard cash in exchange for not necessarily warm or soft flies.
And fishing plans are being hatched.
Long before the felt vs. rubber-soled wading shoe debate.
Heck, long before any environmental concerns.
It all begins the last weekend of April.
We’ll be out the gates Opening Weekend with a quick three days of fishing Sierra west-slope streams and rivers in the hope that they’ve suitably recuperated over the winter. The oldest son might join me, though it’s hard to tell if it’s the fishing he’s after or a buffalo burger at Diamondback Grill. Regardless, we’ll be going where the fish are and cell phones hopefully don’t work. And once the trout season opens, the rush will be on to squeeze in fishing weekends as we can.
Next stop: the Upper Sacramento. This late June trip with The Club will incorporate “bugology” and on-the-water education. This’ll be yours truly’s first visit to this much talked-about far nothern stretch of the “Nile of the West,” fulfilling the self-made promise to try at least one new trout water each year.
But wait. There’s more.
The visit to the Upper Sac will be immediately followed by two days of guided fishing on Eagle Lake. The excuse is that we’ll be in the neighborhood. Mostly. The truth is that Eagle Lake is on the all-too-long bucket list. Best to start early whittling down that list.
The midsummer plan is to hit up the folks who raised us for lodging and grub, then chase Puget Sound salmon with the bro’, pa and few of their friends. It’ll be a quick trip…one of a length that now appears too short since dad’s stepped up to join us for a float on the Yakima and there’s a possibility of getting onto some local water, backed by the local knowledge of fellow fly fisher who’s offered whatever tidbits he might grudgingly share in exchange for a pint or a lunch or a dinner.
The year’s shaping up to be a windfall of new waters. Four new venues in just as many months. The months that follow will offer the comfort of the familiar.
Nothing’s set in stone for the dog days of summer, but history hints at a few weekend stays at The Cabin, punctuated by high-speed runs leisurely drives over Sonora Pass to wet the line in one or more waters: the rivers Walker (East, West and Little), Lee Vining Creek, Saddlebag Creek, and the Lyell and/or Dana forks of the Tuolumne.
Favorite late fall target: High Sierra brook trout.
We’ll officially mark the start of fall with a three-day stay at Tom’s Place Resort with perhaps a dozen club members spreading out to their favorite (lower) Eastern Sierra Waters. From sunrise to sunset we’ll be educating trout and testing home-tied flies on Rock Creek and Crowley Lake, with stops at Hot Creek and the Upper Owens and East Walker rivers. Dusk to dawn will mean home-cooked meals, homemade beer and sleep, in that order.
That’s where specific plans end. Rest assured, the looming closure of the season will bring renewed and somewhat frenetic energy. Energy for quick weekend trips, again headquartered at The Cabin, with day trips here and there.
Trying to live the life of a gentleman fly fisherman is tough. But I’m trying my best.