All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Perfect Water

Close-up of typical Ogden brown trout.

Gene with an Ogden River brown trout.
Gene called on Thursday and said that he rode his bike over to the Ogden River to check out the conditions. He said it was perfect water. Perfect water, at least for Gene and me, is water that is clear, cold, and low enough to get in and wade. He said he was ready to go fly fishing when I was ready.

I knew I had Friday off, but didn't let Gene know. I wasn't sure I could find the time--wasn't sure what Friday would bring. I woke up Friday morning and went for an early morning run. I came back and called Gene during my cool down.

"Hey, what do you have planned or the day?" I asked.
"I have a funeral at six tonight, but other than that nothing," he said.
"Let's go hit the Ogden."
"What time?"
"I was thinking sometime this afternoon. Maybe around one."
"That works."
"Okay, then I'll swing by and pick you up at one."
"Okay, buddy, see you then.."

Plans set. I showered. I had time to tie up a few flies and tied up some Blue-winged Olives and some small beetles. I hadn't tied a fly for about eight months. My eyesight is slowly going. I need readers to see the small stuff, and get the feeling that some type of magnifier is in my future. I knew the Olives I tied were bigger than what would be hatching, but I just wasn't in the mood to mess with too small of hooks. The beetles were tied to represent the Box Elder bug that I have seen around and that usually hatch out in the spring in good numbers. They are not an aquatic bug, but I figured if they were found in the trees and brush, they end up in the water enough that fish would see them.

Back in our twenties and thirties, Gene and I fished a couple times a week if not more. A couple evenings after work and all day on Saturdays. I will admit we were half-crazed. In the evenings we could easily catch fifteen to twenty trout each--sometimes more. On Saturday adventures, we would fish all day and approach 100 fish days on a regular basis. We occasionally ventured around to other water, but for the most part the Ogden River was our quick fix.

As we drove out on Friday, we talked about the things I just mentioned. We reminisced how our lives have changed, how the world has changed. Gene had gotten into cycling and I had taken on more responsibility with my church. Gene has retired and I will have to work until I drop dead. We talked about getting old; about parents getting sick; about aches, pains, poor eyesight, and about trying to stay in shape sow e could still do the things we enjoy.

Gene confessed that he had not been fly fishing since 2006. Wow! I thought. That's eight years! Cycling had taken over as his focus in those years. I confessed that I didn't fish as much as I used to, that I try to get out once a week, or once every couple of weeks, that I have become a fair weather fisherman and only go out when the weather is good, that I focus my fishing in the Fall when the fish will take hoppers--when I can fish something I can see. We concluded that life is definitely different for us now.

When we arrived to the river, we moaned and groaned as we put on our waders.

"Kind of hard to bend over and put the boots on," I said. Gene agreed.

"Can't see to tie on my fly," Gene said. I agreed.

We eventually made it to the water, waded out and began to cast. Casting is like riding a bike. Even if you haven't done it for a while, the memory reflex and mind allow for it to come back quickly. Gene joked about remembering how to cast, but he was soon in rhythm.

I noticed a trout rise in a small pocket and tried to get it to take the beetle. Nothing. I asked Gene to come and try with the smaller mayfly pattern he had tied on. I showed him the spot and he made a cast. "A little to the right and in the seam," I coached. Next cast and the trout took Gene's fly. The little brown jumped and danced. Gene brought it to his hands and smiled. "Man, that feels good," he said. I can't remember how many times we had spotted fish and then guided each other into catching them over the years, but this was just like old times.

We fished for a couple of hours. The catching was slow, but the fishing was great. It was good to be out. It was good to see Gene with a fly rod in his hands after an eight year drought.

"Stoneflies will hatch in the next couple of weeks," I quipped. Gene said he would keep an eye out and let me know if he sees them before I do. "If the water stays good, we need to hit that hatch! Gene proclaimed.
"That can be our next outing," I replied.

As we took our waders off and put away our gear we talked of fifty fish days, how the day was slow, how we would catch more the next time. But we also talked about how good it was to be out; to be on "our" river; how we had fished every inch of it from the mouth of the canyon to the dam in the past 25 years. We talked about how nice the day was. We both agreed that the water was perfect.

No comments: