Fly Fishing's Other Rewards
Those who are regular "tip of the week" readers might know that I recently relocated to a pretty dry Southwestern state where trout aren't as easy to find. That's why I was so pumped this last weekend as I threw my stuff in the car and headed 2 1/2 hours to the mountains to a beautiful little stream I'd seen before but hadn't yet fished. I had done my homework and asked around quite a bit and felt pretty confident that I'd have an enjoyable and fruitful fishing day.
As I followed the twisting road up the scenic canyon I was impressed by the creek. Big boulders formed many large pools. There were deep runs, pockets, riffles, and wide flats combined with crystal clear water, all making it appear like trout paradise. As I fished though I found the "trout" part of that "trout paradise" to be glaringly missing. I fished dries, dry-dropper, deep nymphs, streamers, and gulp (the sound of difficultly ingested pride), even glow bugs - nothing. I tried to see fish, scare fish, even smell fish - nothing. I even smiled a big smile as a slip, trip, and tumble landed me halfway in the stream. The cold water down the waders at least reminded me that I was actually fishing.
So where's the tip in this? Well I'm not sure, but as I settled into the realization that I wouldn't be catching fish that day I started to look around and realized that no other type of fishing or really no other type of recreation offers the kind of secondary rewards that fly fishing does. The stunning rock walled canyon, the silence and peace, the wild life, and everything else about that place reminded me, corny as it sounds, how good it was to just be out there. Fly fishing, even just the process, performance, and location of it, is just plain enjoyable. Now catching fish is a much more tangible reward (and doesn't require as much pretty language to convey) but there really is a lot to enjoy about fly fishing that doesn't even require fish. So get out there on the water and by all means try to catch fish but remember to enjoy all of it.