Why would a trout postion its feeding lie inches off the far bank, in a five foot space, between two overhanging water birch limbs with submerged branches?
I found out as I gently placed a blue-winged olive imitation right behind the upstream set of branches. The imitation mayfly sat motionless for a second, then slowly started downstream. Its migration was stopped when I saw the head of a trout pop up through the water's surface tension. I knew he was a good trout by the size of the head. Plus, the take was deliberate and subtle; not the splashy rise of the smaller trout I had caught earlier. I lifted the rod tip and watched the slow seam of water erupt into the air. The good-sized brown trout followed. I put pressure on quick. The trout had two options: head upstream and into submerged branches or downstream into submerged branches. Either way, I was in trouble. The trout headed downstream which made sense. Upstream the water was shallow, downstream the water was deep. I figured a trout this size had moved up out of the deeper water to feed. I tried to horse the trout out into the open riffle where I was standing, but he was smart and fast. I watched as he rolled around in the submerged branches. He had snagged me up. I waded closer to the sunken trouble. The trout spun a couple of more times and then darted downstream into the deep water. He was gone and my fly and leader was hung up in the branches. I retrieved my fly and came away with catching a gob of moss. It didn't matter. My wife had tagged along to take some pictures and after four photographs of earlier caught smaller trout, the camera batteries had gone dead. This trout was destined to be a fish story.Winter seemed long to me, even though it was a mild winter, and one with below normal snow. Getting out and finding a Spring blue-winged olive hatch was very much needed. I had spent my lunch hour watching feeding trout the day before the outing. The hatch started at about 2:00 PM. I watched several trout and made mental note of where the larger ones were feeding. I went back to work and dreamed the rest of the day, and into the night, about getting back to the river the next day to fly fish. I awoke early and tied some flies to match the hatch. I knew the best fishing would be in the afternoon so I spent the rest of the morning helping do yardwork at my parent's house. At noon, I went home and ate a quick lunch. I invited my wife to go with me and to take some pictures.
We arrived at the area I planned to fish and I quickly put on my waders and rigged up my gear. I felt like a kid as I strung the rod and tied on the fly. I was excited. I mentioned to my wife, the excitement I felt. "Why, after all these years of fly fishing, do I still feel so excited about it?" I asked. It was really an unanswerable question. I'm not sure I know the answer, so I didn't expect her to have one either. The question was my way of letting her know fly fishing still fascinates me and brings me a joy and satisfaction I don't get in my "normal" life. She knows that already and accepts it. In that regard I have been lucky. She has always allowed me to go on my fly fishing adventures, only questioning my propensity to go alone so often. Still, she accepts it and understands it in her own way. On this outing, I waded the river and she walked the bank. With each missed trout or hooked trout, I would glance back at her and smile. It was fun to share the smiles and a couple of hours together. In so many aspects of my life, I have a tendency to look back and wonder how I ended up where I am. I sometimes wonder if I could have been more than what I am. Should I have been a doctor? A lawyer? An indian chief? What would that change? Standing in the river, and knowing of the joy, happiness, serenity, and excitement I still feel when pursuing and catching trout, I realized I was right where I belong.