Remember last week’s more rhapsodic post about finding solitude and fooling fish with dry flies? And then my comment about the contentedness found on that new stretch of river?
Well, the next day was a little bit different.
I knew that there’d be little or no solitude that day. This was a creek well know among the locals and regular visitors alike. A place to fill the freezer with hatchery trout or simply have fun catching.
An early riser
because of work by design rather than nature, I was on the water at sunup to find a husband and wife beat me to one of the better locations. I fished downstream a bit and after landing a few fish, ventured closer to the couple when the husband abandoned a favorite run. Pleasantries were exchanged and after asking if it would be okay, I moved upstream of the couple. They were fishing with spinners and bait but our conversation reveled them to be well-rounded fisherfolks. Today they hoped to take a limit of fish, while other days on other waters they’d favor catching and releasing with a fly rod. Fish were landed amid enjoyable conversation peppered with suggestions of other worthwhile fishing venues. Limits caught, they departed about mid morning.
During this time, I’d settled in perpendicular to a nice deep section while two older guys began to cast bait into a pool just downstream of where I was fishing. To paint a picture, I was making quartering casts about 15 feet upstream and the roughly 30-foot drift of my flies put them 15 feet below my position before I’d recast. Ten feet below that point, these guys perched on the opposite bank.
The fishing and catching was good for everyone for about an hour, then slacked off, though the trout were still responding well to flies, both on the surface and subsurface. Like the day before, a well-presented dry would lure a fish from the depths with good deal of drama and splashing that, of course, caught the attention of the other fishermen.
Then it happened. Plop.
A white and red bobber landed less than 5 feet away from me, right in the seam I was working. This would happen half a dozen times more, but since I was still hooking a fish now and again and my ‘competition’ wasn’t, I ignored the uncouth behavior.
However, when another fisherman took up position about 15 feet upstream and let his sunken ball of fluorescent PowerBait float to within a yard and a half of my feet (certainly sneaky if this was intentional), it became clear that these rude manners deserved a response. But I’m not a confrontational person. So…
Downstream but within sight of every one of the other fishermen were various pods of trout holding in pockets and depressions and behind rocks. With a new dropper tied onto a stimulator dry fly, I targeted the fish swimming closest to me and, one by one hooked, each. Slowly, I worked my way across the creek until I was casting against the opposite bank. The other guys weren’t catching, so they were watching. Like the day before, I enjoyed watching the reactions of each fish, with the ‘turn‘ telling me how I might adjust my presentation and hinting at where the fish expected to see food.
My response may not have had an impact on these guys (and yes, I knew there’d be others on this water), but after landing more than a dozen fish — then releasing them — while everyone else stood idly by sure made me feel better.