By: Joel Anderson
Like "That Hansel", my home river "is so hot right now." Last weekend it was warming up, two nights ago it's getting hot, and tonight it was on fire. Bugs everywhere, fish everywhere; it simply doesn't get any better. Add to the equation the fact that the water level and temperature are perfect, and the trout are fresh from the truck stupid right now, and it really isn't much of a task for an experienced fly fisherman to hook 50 trout (or more) in a couple hours of evening fishing. It is always amazing to me the same trout that are so vulnerable right now will quickly take on the characteristics of wild trout and become much more difficult to catch after a month or two of fending for themselves.
Finding my favorite pool empty, I started with a low-keyed approach of casting a wood duck Hornberg tied with brown dyed grizzly hackle. Although the rainbows wouldn't respond to this technique, the browns were super charged and chasing the Hornberg with a vengeance on the surface. Casting directly up into the white foam of the current at the head of the pool and working the fly back with rod tip action, the takes were signaled by a jumping of the fly line/leader.
Fish were soon breaking the surface and the caddis in the air signaled a change to a dead-drifted caddis pattern. Although an amber-bodied Iris Caddis went largely unmolested, a change to smaller, more somber tan LaFontaine Emergent Sparkle Pupa brought the expected results. Releasing yet another trout, I heard a shout from behind me. A spin fisherman had joined me in the pool at a respectable distance and he was congratulating me on the catch. I nodded in appreciated and continued with my fishing. Several more trout fell prey to the ESP, and each time my new fishing partner shouted words of encouragement, although his enthusiasm for my success was waning with each successive trout brought to hand.
“Okay”, I thought to myself, “it’s time to give this guy something to talk about at work tomorrow.” I have to admit, my dark side always enjoys the opportunity to give an unsuspecting spin fisherman something to think about. Switching over to a dead-drifted nymph technique, one trout after another started coming to net at an alarming rate. It was the epitome of what I considered “stupid fishing”.
My spin fishing buddy was now just shaking his head. “I guess I gotta get me a fly pole!” he shouted over the sound of the river.
"If only it were that simple." I thought to myself.
Much like a playoff basketball team looking to establish dominance, the devil on my right shoulder didn't want to just win, he wanted to send a statement. But then the angel on my left shoulder asked, 'Was I making a statement, or was I just rubbing it in?"