Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Back to Deckers for One Last Stand: Still Good Fishing

My client today at Deckers holding a fat South Platte River Rainbow. 

Well, I thought I was not going to fish again until January but while driving down the pass after a ski trip, the fly shop called me to do a guide trip, I committed to one more trip over to Deckers before winter settles in the area.

How strange that the fishing, in spite of the cold morning, was quite good. Small Black beauties and white miracle nymphs were the ticket. Some of the fish were heavy.And in some sense, the fish were more willing than they were in the summer.

Why was the fishing so good in late November? My theory is that with less pressure, (the summer crowds are gone!), the fishing has revived in spite of the absence of any substantial hatches. During the summer, the big crowds push the fish into hiding and ultra selectivity.

We enjoyed a good number of hook ups to heavy fish.  Nice to get out one last time before a cold and dark December descends upon us. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Leaving Cheesman Canyon for the Season

I am never quite sure when I will leave the Canyon for the winter. But most years it is near Thanksgiving. Some snow and ice were on the trail and waters edge.  Perhaps it is time.  I think yesterday might have been my last day. Every year, I try to give the fish a break for a few months.  I will return late winter/early Spring.

Yesterday I was in the canyon guiding a few very thoughtful gentlemen. The fish were willing to strike at our flies just enough to keep us engaged and warm our cold hands. As is often the case, changing flies and trying something new now and then seemed to help with these finicky fish. One such fly was a tiny size 24 Hares Ear nymph.

Regardless, yesterday was a special day. We talked about life and how much more there is to fishing than catching fish. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful pause from our day to day routines. Imagine three men on a river quoting poets.

Nice to end the guide season gaining two new friends.

Now I want it to snow. I like to imagine heavy snows falling and blocking the trail to the canyon; or at least making the hike in the canyon more difficult. Special places need protection and some of that protection comes from my choice to know when it is time to leave.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Last Days Of Summer:

My friend Jim and I had to steal a fishing trip before the weather changes.  And what strange weather we are having. Of course we have seen this kind of pattern before: A warm prolonged summer-like season that extends into Thanksgiving and even December. The mountains remain largely dry and void of snow. Maybe today some snow will fall but then just as quickly it looks like it will warm up again. I bounce back and forth between two worlds; between two seasons that seem confused. Rather than plan a ski trip I will plan to fish again. I might as well go with the flow of nature.

But is this the flow of nature? Or have we changed the environment. I know this is "hotly" debated. Here is my thought: If we as a civilization are even responsible for a fraction of a percent of a global weather change then, this is profoundly significant; not in the usual sense of debating if there are dry spells, record highs, what might be happening to the polar ice caps, but, rather in how we experience nature.

Nature has had a bedrock independence from us and in some sense, its independence has been its defining characteristic. We experience nature as some "other." The fact that we seemingly can't alter nature is what makes it meaningful and therapeutic to us. There has to be some natural place that is not impacted by us; a place where we are not in control. As the saying goes, "You can't fight mother-nature." We might mess around with many aspects of life but when we go out fly fishing in nature,  nature should remain steady and indifferent to our petty activities. 

But suppose we have altered the weather even just slightly. While fishing, Jim and I felt the warm sunlight on our faces. I was fishing in shorts. It was a beautiful "summer-like" day.  We looked around at the beauty and said to each other, "Thank you God for this beautiful day." However, how can I truly say this anymore, if we have helped create the warming;even if only slightly? The beautiful day has a man-made "mark" on it and at least for me, that takes something away from how I experience the natural world.

If we have altered the weather then that change has robbed nature of its Independence. Our power has changed the meaning of a beautiful day and I am not sure that is a good change, regardless if the snow falls and blankets the mountains.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dream Stream Midges

Some nice fish are still rising on the Dream. Midges, midges, midges. Crowds are still prevalent. No sign of snow. Small black beauties.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Fishing: Slowing Down Into Melancholy

It happens every Fall season. I slow down. I enter a state of Melancholy.  Those out of touch with this seasonal, deeper, inward turning, of the soul, might call it depression.

However, I think more highly of the seasonal mood, like a trustworthy and faithful friend, that ritually returns every year.   I believe that this inward musing is something deeper and older; perhaps from a time long ago, when a conservation of energy was a needed survival instinct with the approach of winter or perhaps, even now, in modern times, a turning within that helps preserve my soul.  

Turning inward and slowing down might be an inward revolt; a type of an adjustment made against a society that moves at an insane pace.  If the pace of the culture continually overrides my inner cadence, not allowing me to contemplate matters of the soul, then perhaps my soul revolts by slowing down into melancholy. 

Sometimes when I cast with a nymphing rig and a strike indicator, I can see and feel how the surface currents are dragging my flies faster than they should be drifting. I then need to slow down the drift by mending the line up stream, allowing the flies to slow down, and settle into to the drift of the pool I am fishing.

Likewise, I sometimes need to mend my life.  I need to mend the pace I am living. I need to make an adjustment. I need a season, even if briefly, to slow down and contemplate, who I am, and where I am going. I need rest for my soul. Why go at a crazy pace all year and year after year?

I need to ask, what does it profit me to gain the whole world and yet lose my soul?

If nothing else, if I can slow down as I walk the banks, I might better see the 25-inch Brown that lies under a seam line.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Leaving the Fish for a Day

From the runs of the Dream Stream to the runs of Arapaho Ski Area; sometimes it is nice to give the fish a break and to experience nature in a different manner.

Remember the old Pink Floyd lyric, "Hey, teachers, leave those kids alone?" Well, sometimes, as a guide I sing that line to myself, "Hey guide, leave those fish alone."

So, I did.  For a day, I left the fish and the river to ski. Another beautiful day in the mountains and hopefully the slightest reprieve for some fish.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016