It was a heavenly day on the Missouri. Warm, comfy. No wind.
It was a good day to watch geese too. Adults and variously aged and sized goslings were out and about in abundance. I stumbled onto a nest too. Goose eggs are pretty big.
Fishing wise, it was slow going, at least as far as surface activity goes. I sight nymphed a couple of fish early on. After that, I bided time, waiting, hoping for some sort of hatch. I was determined to catch fish on top.
I watched one rainbow on and off throughout the morning. It was positioned right up against shore, strategically hidden from view by brush. Not well enough though, I was looking for him. I could see other fish too, some close to shore, others farther out. This particular rainbow fed actively. I could see it move from side to side, its mouth opening and closing, obviously grabbing stuff in the current. It would rise occasionally too.
I got him a couple hours later. It took a bunch of casts. I put him down once. I left for a while, worked some other uncooperative fish, came back and worked on him some more. Stubborn? Why yes. You can't catch rising fish that aren't rising. And, this was the only one in the neighborhood that decided to poke its nose through the surface film. So, I stuck with this one and got lucky.
Later, I drove along the river, scouting for potential new spots to fish. Along one section, I noticed some subtle rises. First thought, whitefish. But no, I know better. I jumped in, well below the risers, and found several dimpling the surface steadily.
The next couple of hours would be great fun, following moving pods of fish. Rainbows, when hooked, went berserk. There would be an immediate and decisive line ripping run towards mid-river, then a jump just to show off their size. I'd reel like mad, get my line back, but had a hell of a time holding them. The hook would pull out at the critical moment or they'e jump the net. Barbless hooks are good, quick release nets the same. I never laid a finger of the biggest fish. But, even with the searing runs and jumps, no fish broke the 6X all day. That was a surprise. And while the Missouri contains mostly rainbows, the days catch would primarily be brown trout, of better than average proportions. Another surprise.
An admission. I've never been much into fishing the dry fly. What's kept me away? I'm patient to a fault, but keeping the fly afloat is a pain in the wazzoo. It's a tough problem, I know. Catch a fish and complain (not much though). I've got fly floatants stuffed into several vest pockets. I'm still not sold on any one, how about you?
Regardless, it was a most productive dry fly outing. I found out how brief and spotty a hatch and surface feeding activity can be. Had I quit early and not gone exploring, I would have missed out. I also found out that I really like dry fly fishing, floatant issues notwithstanding. Catching fish is ok too.
While driving along, I noticed a backlit angler.
Anonymous, and a nice subject to add to this scenic image
which would become
A memory and a cliche
And, a river runs through it.....