Updated: Oct 12, 2021
I headed out at sunrise to an area I’ve known about but never experienced. A nice second cup of coffee in the travel mug and my utter silence were my only companions on the drive out. I cracked the window to hear the wind and feel the morning air. Cresting over the hill is where the meadow reveals itself. It was now morning light with long shadows pointing west. The grass was dewy and the hoppers were still cold and slow to move. Maybe they had a great party the night before, stayed up too late and are working off a dreaded hangover? Hopefully they knew better than to wander down to the river. It’s August and it’s hopper season. Once the air warms up, the fish will be waiting on them. Ha! I dropped the tailgate on my truck and spread out my fly boxes while I strung up my 5wt. Today, I didn’t know what to expect as far as bugs go. Would there be a hatch or would it be hopper droppers... maybe some small squirrel leaches or nymphs and midges? Better to make up a box with “D”, all of the above. While buttoning up the truck, I had a thought run through my mind telling me to pause... going through the chores of assembling my gear is second instinct and even getting to the water follows suit. Pausing made me become totally aware of the autopilot of my routine. It also revealed a possibility of taking a different approach to the day.
It was a loud and proud thought, as if some larger voice said, "take your F*@$-ing time and work the river. Every inch and every angle counts, and don’t move on till you know it’s empty."
I read fishing books consistently and, with my young son running around, it may be just a chapter or several... I never know. But the take away from my favorite authors is always this mental approach. Maybe it’s just the context in which they write or maybe it’s just me looking for greater meaning out of black ink on paper or my time spent standing in a river? So, with the oncoming of the sun, these thought provoking ideas in my mind, blitzkrieg coffee and the morning dew, I set off to the river. The first pool I reached had a long and deep cut bank on the far side. Slow water and no risers yet. I went for a size 16 pheasant tail with a 20 zebra midge. With the earlier thoughts still fresh in my head, I chose to start this pool from the very end where the next riffle starts up. There was a nice hole in the bank only about 2 yards up. Second cast past the spot, float through, and... fish on. Spunky brown that I had to keep down at the bottom of the pool so he wouldn’t alarm the rest. It was a quick return.