The nightmares of shadows following are finally gone. The screams of a taught line gone limp have been replaced by boat shaking celebration, man hugs, high 5’s, and that mystic chant of Ya’ma Ya’ma Ya’ma Yaaaaa’ma that seems to drive musky wild.
In almost every corner of the fly fishing world you will find some form of protection for the little native brook trout. Yes they are delicious, I will admit that in the past I have eaten them a time or 3. Although at that time I considered it more a form of population control rather than a meal. 10 or more years have passed since my last taste of Native flesh and I have seen how fishing pressure alone can devastate a native brook trout population first hand.
Last Saturday I headed out for the first time in about a year to check on my little local friends. Almost immediately during my visit I got re-schooled on a few lessons that I had forgotten the Brook trout knew how to teach. So the next time you head over to your neighborhood Native Brook trout stream, not only protect it for it’s beauty and it’s rare inhabitants. Protect if for what and how the stream and it’s inhabitants can to each you to be a better fisherman. Take and teach what we learn on our small native and wild trout streams and apply them to other waters big and small.
A Few Lessons from the Teachers:
1. Check your surroundings before you cast (look up and thank the fish god, then over each shoulder.)
2. Don’t knock Small lines and small rods, they mimic big lines and big rods so bring your A game to the stream.
3. Small flies + small lines + good knots = A happy fisherman and a happy fish.
4. Stealth matters: We don’t realize sometimes how much noise we project and how much backdrop distortion or shadow casting we do on a stream.
5. Simplify what gear you take so it will be easier to find and manage.
I like to read mine in the dark, with a big wooden spoon and a full jar of peanut-butter.
I’ve jammed many a rod together in the past, which always results in 1 of 2 things happening. Snap or Thouump (the good sound). I’ve tried many things before all either recommended to me or things that I’ve read about online. I won’t go into them all because the scars run deep and therapy is getting expensive. I will tell you about one that has worked and makes complete sense. It’s all about leverage!!!
After using the slight of hand rod purchasing trick with the wife I was able to pick up a redington CPX 8wt for a trip up to New York. Somehow after unpacking at the lodge I managed to jam 2 of my rod sections together. Louis, with his Yedi like hands, watched a little as I continued to struggle before interveining with an easy trick to get them apart. Literally took 2 seconds. Instead of confusing you, I’ll save myself the time and effort of tying out how to do this and just let you watch a video that was put together by some funny guys over at Pacific Fly (video found on EVOanglers).
The 2nd ridiculously rewarding thing we did on our trip out West took place on the night before our last day of fishing in Idaho. Thank god (or your deity of choice) we all agreed to head back and hit up the hotel again for a good nights sleep, showers and a good meal. I really just wanted to snuggle with Chris again. This was probably one of the best decisions, unknowingly, since that next day turned into a LONG ONE!! Up at dawn, no need to eat because of the massive portions from the meal we had the night before. The HO was packed and ready to go so we headed for coffee, gas and then the quick hump down to the stream. We fished pretty much all day, getting off the stream with little light left in the day. Dropped off the boat at premier and took a quick tour of the Premier Oars and Blades shop with ? Guy who’s name I forget; he had a hat completely covered in used streamer flies and he let me pet him like a dog the whole time. We headed for a quick bite to eat at a diner/gas station (Rockies) that had one of the best burgers that I have ever eaten in my life—bar NONE!
It was Ryan’s turn to drive in the daily rotation of things, Chris had backseat which would have been the place to be, and I had Co-Pilot. Our destination was Cody which would take us in through the South gate and out the East gate of Yellowstone park at night………this should be fun. The nice lady at the gate entrance who’s birthday had to end in B.C. told us to go the speed limit because the park police are always out (our white Tahoe looked just like-em) and the wildlife is always crossing the road. She said, “Someone hit a bison a few weeks back and the bison won.” About 3 minutes after leaving the gate a fox ran across the road. Now I’ve seen plenty of fox’s in my life but come on this thing looked like at least 30 pounder. It’s probably about 1030 to 11pm when we started into yellowstone and Cody was a solid 1.5-2 hrs away and we had to still hit up wally-world for a license and set-up camp. Suddenly Ryan hollered out BISON BISON!!! Chris and I both pooped in our pants a little and looked in Ryan’s POV and nothing. He flipped a U-turn and headed back and the SOB was standing right in the middle of the road. As black as NIGHT with a dull reflection off it’s eyes that really didn’t help reflect any light at all. WOW those F-in things are BIG. We could have hit that thing going the speed limit 35 or a little more and it would have done nothing but put the engine in our laps and just pissed off the bison. He slowly walked across the 2-lane and disappeared into the darkness, like a big drunk dude staggering home from the bar alone. We made our way to wally-world, then backtracked about 30 minutes to camp. Set-up shop and went to bed at about 3-330 am only to wake up when the sun hit out tents. From this moment on in Wyoming it was a Trout Catching Marathon!!!!