A Good Day

"I wondered for quite a while about the fascination of fly fishing.  Why is it that I can wade into a stream at 10 in the morning, look at my watch in a "couple"of hours, and find out that it's late in the afternoon"........by Gene Hill from A Listening Walk and other stories.

Today was such a day, albeit I started a little earlier and ended earlier in order to escape the heat.  It was one of those days when I couldn't quite decide what to do.  Inertia is unacceptable, so I started loading gear into the car.  I figured that four fly rods should do nicely. I could have taken more, but every man has his limits.

I ended up on the Madison.  My intent was to stop briefly, do a quick recon of a fishing access site, and continue on to the upper part of the river.  I never left.

I started fiddling with my camera and took a few photos of flies.  Satisfied, I pulled on waders and selected an old fiberglass fly rod that I built some 35 years ago.  To it I attached a simple click type reel.

The river was in fine shape.  Fish were rising in the first run.  I sat in the grass and watched their occasional splashy rises.  Looking at my waders I noted two tiny mayflies drying themselves.  Tricos.  Well, I had none in my fly box so I tied on a small Stimulator.  A fish doesn't know what he wants until he sees it.  I hoped to convince them that this fly was it.

The Stimulator

A couple of small browns came to the fly.  Then they quit rising.

Continuing upstream I found no more rising fish.  It was time to switch tactics.  I pulled off the 12 foot leader, which by the way, was cast quite nicely by the seven and a half foot fiberglass rod, and replaced it with one that was shorter and heavier.  To this I attached a small conehead muddler.  The fish found this to their liking.

Against one deep bank I hooked no less than half a dozen noteworthy browns.  Only, I couldn't hold them.  The hook pulled free on each.  It was barbless, and sharp as the dickens. I can't figure out why those fish came off.  Sometimes they just do.

Many small rainbows later, a good fish took, jumped, and peeled line from the reel.  I was afraid that that this one would come unbuttoned too, but the hook stayed attached to the fish.  After a spirited fight, and after wishing for longer arms, I netted the fish, a fine deep bodied rainbow. 

like a small steelhead, well almost...

Now I really wanted a picture of this fish.  Standing midstream in a fairly strong current wasn't ideal.  I managed to tuck the rod under my arm and hold the netted fish in my left hand.  With my right hand I pulled the camera from it's case, and removed the lens cap, which I promptly dropped into the water.  Quickly transferring the camera to my left hand, which also contained the aforementioned unhappy writhing fish and fly rod, I took a swipe at the water hoping the grab the rapidly disappearing lens cap.  Almost got it.  One more swipe and away it went.  Brown bears make it look easy, but they snag ten pound salmon, not lens caps.  At least I didn't drop the camera too.