Driftless Trout Anglers

Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.



4 Pages123>»
Go to last post Go to first unread
#1 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:22:30 AM(UTC)
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 262
Location: St Paul MN

Thanks: 11 times
Was thanked: 36 time(s) in 28 post(s)
One of the occasional perks of working for a Canadian company is that I get some Canadian holidays off, even though I'm a US employee.

The Monday after Easter was a case in point. Office closed, everyone's off. Kid's in school, the BOSS has to work. Sounds like a good day to go fishing. Water might be high and muddy but whatever. Beats cleaning the garage.

So I packed up my gear, dropped the kid off at school on my way out of town, and headed southeast to the MN Driftless. After checking a couple streams on the way south and finding very high, muddy water, I made it to the Whitewater to find it just a bit high, and just a bit colored. In other words, just beautiful. I found an empty stretch of stream, threw my waders on, rigged up, and stepped in below a short riffle that tailed out into a narrow chute of fast water before spreading out into a broad, flat run.

Over the last year or so, I've been experimenting with tight line nymphing - call it Czech nymphing, Euro nymphing or whatever you will. On a freestone stream like the Whitewater, especially with a little color and current, it was an ideal day to do it, so that's what I started out with. Long rod, thin (2W) flyline, a long (18') leader with a bicolor sighter, 4 feet or so of tippet and a pair of nymphs. On the second drift through the near side seam of the chute, my sighter went straight, I lifted the rodtip, and a foot-long brown went chugging off downstream. A quick release, two drifts later - and without moving my feet - another. Good start.

As I continued up the stream, I changed out flies a few times (sometimes encouraged by rocks and an inconveniently-located tree branch), I got a little more dialed in with my fly selection (#14 Frenchie on a jig as a point fly, #16 flashback Jujubeatis above it on a dropper) and where fish seemed to want to be.

Pretty soon, I was catching fish at a fairly steady clip. As I fished my way upstream, a few other anglers wandered by, with the usual "gettinany?" small talk, (nice day ennit?) comparing observations and finding clever ways to ask what fly you're using without asking what fly you're using. One fellow was curious about the tight line nymphing so I stepped out of the river and showed him the whole setup. All in all, the kind of pleasant streamside encounters that make you think maybe people aren't so bad after all. As someone famous (Gandhi, or Churchill or I forget whom) once said "I was so happy."

I was thoroughly stuck in on a spot, mid-stream in water past my waist, standing on a high spot of rock to fish a current seam I'd approached from downstream after eyeballing the spot. It was the best way to fish the chute coming out of a riffle without walking through the eddied, soft bottomed slack water along both banks, kicking dirt in their faces. I'd hooked and landed one fish, and missed another, when I glanced over my shoulder to see another fisherman on the bank behind me, rod over his shoulder, watching me fish.

So I said hello. The fellow asked me if I were catching any. He knew the answer, since he'd seen me catch at least one, but I said yeah, it's actually been pretty good.

"Are you Czech nymphing?"

Yes - well, sort of. Lots of different names for it I guess.

"I mainly fish dry flies."

Yeah, dries are fun. Starting to see a few splashy rises actually. Olives might be starting to come off a little? May have one on myself here in a bit.

A long pause - long enough to make me hope the conversation was over and he'd be on his way while I turned back to the run. Because I had a suspicion I knew what I was dealing with, and what was coming next.

Then he said what he really meant when he said 'I fish dries:' "I don't think that Czech nypmhing stuff is really fly fishing."

(Right. Purist. He's here to show me the error of my ways, and peel the scales from my eyes. By force if necessary. All hands to Action Stations, prepare for close combat.)

Come again? I have a fly rod, a fly reel with fly line on it, a tapered leader, albeit a long one, and I'm using, you know...flies. Seems to fit even a fairly narrow definition?

"You don't have any fly line out and you aren't even casting!"

OK. With tight line nymphing, there are times when I don't have any fly line in the water.

When conditions allow it, like they did Monday, it's most of the time. Casts are often a quick loop cast upstream - enough to load the rod with the weight of the flies and leader, and not much else. No false casting, no shooting line. The close quarters nature of it is part of its effectiveness (precision and control) and the fun (you feel almost every fish hit, and sometimes they're almost at your feet). But not all the time. And if you want a challenge, make a 40 foot cast with an 18 foot leader and two flies on an 11 foot rod without ending up with the mother of all tailing loops and a spectacular leader ball.

"Well it just doesn't seem like you're really fly fishing. I mean, not a lot of skill involved flopping your line in the water over and over."

Hooooo boy. My instinct was to say OK sport, step on in and have a go. It's not as simple as it looks. But I just said "Fish don't seem to care."

(I also wondered what he'd have said about the Tenkara rod I had in my truck. If I'm casting a fly line, but there's no reel, is that ok? Ok if it's a dry fly, not ok if it's a nymph? If you plotted it out as a matrix, where would it land?)

He stood there for a bit longer, then sauntered on upstream to high hole me on the next run. Apparently his deep concern for the sanctity of the sport didn't extend to courtesy on the water.

Or maybe... Maybe his concern was so strong, he felt obligated to save the trout ahead of me from the indignity of being caught on not only a nymph, but a nymph that wasn't even presented with a proper cast. Whatever the case, he stepped into the stream 40 yards up, and within a few minutes, the mud he'd kicked up while he presented a dry fly in proper fashion, as a gentlemen angler does, was spilling through the run I was fishing. OK, fine. Time to find a new stretch anyhow.

On the hike back to the truck, I tried to talk myself out of being annoyed. I've been around the fishing and outdoor business enough (I got my first paycheck - signed by Al Lindner - 30 years ago next month) to have seen this sort of thing in more than a few forms, more than a few times. Tournament bass and walleye fishermen look down on weekend anglers (I once had a well-known Wisconsin walleye tournament angler tell me the only way to 'prove you were a good angler' was to 'show it on the battlefield' in tournaments). Walleye anglers look down on bass anglers. Fly anglers look down on conventional tackle anglers, conventional tackle anglers look down on bait anglers. Muskie anglers look down on...everybody. This wasn't anything new.

But still...

One of the things I love about fishing is that it's approachable at any level. There's no qualitative difference between standing on a dock waiting for a bluegill to pull a bobber under and standing on the deck of a $60k bass boat. Fishing is fishing. What is enjoyable is in the eye of the beholder. I like the gear, and fine tuning gear selection to what I'm trying to do. I play with leader configurations and different techniques, not because I need to to catch fish, but because to me, it's part of the fun. I *need* 3 rods to go bass fishing, but the rod locker on my boat is jammed with 20 bass rods. I have boxes jammed with dozens of different fly patterns, and a pile of fly rods, each with different line weights and - in my head at least - intended for different purposes. So what if I roll with the same 5-weight 9 days out of 10? My fishing partner is the best trout fisherman I know. He's caught more big browns from the Driftless than I'll ever touch. He's caught them all on anan ancient fly rod with a foam handle, line that's so old the coating is mostly gone and it's more or less dacron, and 2 or 3 different variations on wooly buggers. What the variations look like depends entirely on what materials he could actually find when he needed to tie some more. But Lord he catches big trout.

What bothered me was wondering if this sort of parochialism is getting worse as we come up with more ways to further segregate ourselves. Whether it's politics, music, sports, art...whatever...it's easy to find groups of like-minded people that not only share your beliefs, but continually validate them. Information has become democratized, and we choose to use it to exclude.

It also made me realize on of the great things about DTA. Most of the time when I read reports here, I have no idea if someone was fly fishing or not. Nobody cares.

So I found another stretch, and tried to forget about it. Even caught a few on dries.

As I walked along the trail back to my car to head home, I passed by him again, fishing downstream of where I'd just been, knee deep at the edge of a long, slick run and staring intently at a parachute dun drifting downstream, unmolested.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
#2 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:32:41 AM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 3/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 726
Location: Altura

Thanks: 50 times
Was thanked: 16 time(s) in 16 post(s)
Nice story! It is one of the reasons I try to stick to private land.
#3 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 12:48:43 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 1,339
Location: Madison

Thanks: 128 times
Was thanked: 162 time(s) in 128 post(s)
I hope he reads this forum and realizes what a d-bag the rest of the world thinks he is.

Reminds me of a story a guy I met once on BEC told me.

Essentially, he was fishing a hole using live bait and a fly fisherman walked up, looked down his nose at the guy and started to cast.

He told the guy that it was fine coz he was fishing the "top of the water" while the guy who was already there could work the - sneer - bottom.

You pull that with me, you better be bigger than me and a lot meaner. I'm not prone to violence or idle threats, but I feel like I'd lose my shit in that situation.

Thankfully, in all my time on streams, I've never run into an arsehole. Probably just means I'm due.

Have had guys in boats come within casting distance of our boat, but that's lake fishing.

“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
#4 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 12:59:36 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 11/7/2016(UTC)
Posts: 1,339
Location: Madison

Thanks: 128 times
Was thanked: 162 time(s) in 128 post(s)
Of course I don't know for certain if that happened to that guy...
“Harvest eaters... release trophies.” -Gurth
Private correspondence at: jkschind "at" tds.net
#5 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 2:08:30 PM(UTC)
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 6/25/2013(UTC)
Posts: 443
Location: Wisconsin

Thanks: 21 times
Was thanked: 26 time(s) in 24 post(s)
Guys that like that are the kind of people that don't fly fish for the love of the sport, they only do it because they want to feel superior to others.

Edited by user Thursday, April 20, 2017 2:10:02 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

#6 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 3:52:25 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 4/8/2013(UTC)
Posts: 200
Location: Green Bay, WI

Was thanked: 1 time(s) in 1 post(s)
Sounds like an elitist ahole. I could care less what people use to fish as long as they are good people and respectful of others rights.
I live in a van down by the river.
#7 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 4:46:43 PM(UTC)
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/24/2010(UTC)
Posts: 2,258
Location: West Fork

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 44 time(s) in 38 post(s)
Unlike other forums, we at DTA do not snob at anyone along as you obey the law.
Issues lately ,concerning trespassing ,are troubling- ask permission and enjoy your time on the water.
Get Reel
#8 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:48:57 PM(UTC)
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/16/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,526
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn

Thanks: 56 times
Was thanked: 69 time(s) in 56 post(s)
Everyone just needs to stay out of each other's way... I've seen this on the Rush before, when I was younger and a little more polite. If it happened now, I'd probably tell the guy to get bent. I couldn't care less what other people use as long as they respect everyone else. I will never walk past someone without permission while Trout Fishing, not sure why that is so hard to grasp for some people. We live in an area with endless opportunities for our sport, find another damn bridge crossing if one is taken...
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
#9 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 7:06:07 PM(UTC)
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 2/24/2013(UTC)
Posts: 356

Thanks: 2 times
Was thanked: 13 time(s) in 12 post(s)
I prefer fly fishing for reasons far beyond catching fish, but when people ask about it my general response is that's just another way of fishing, in using things that look like what fish eat, and if the fish are hungry, you may catch them, and fly fisherman use bobbers too.

I generally avoid the spots like BEC etc. because there always seems to be 'that guy' that has bought into the idea that fish are smart and 'the tug's the drug'.

Once had a guy get pretty intense about 'wanting the big one' at Big Green a few years ago and wouldn't let it go that I was just there to stand in the stream for a while and stare at the water and maybe have a few fish bother me.
#10 Posted : Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:56:30 PM(UTC)
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 9/19/2015(UTC)
Posts: 521
Location: La Crosse, WI

Thanks: 6 times
Was thanked: 31 time(s) in 23 post(s)
I fly fish because being on the stream is the only place I can wear my ascot and beret and won't look overdressed.
Curt Rees
Coulee Region Trout Unlimited
Catch fish, have a good time, protect the resource.
CRTU Facebook
CRTU Instagram
Users browsing this topic
4 Pages123>»
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Powered by YAF.NET | YAF.NET © 2003-2019, Yet Another Forum.NET
This page was generated in 0.420 seconds.