Monday, April 16, 2012

A River of Change

We've all heard the phrase, "You can't step into the same river twice."  Though Heraclitus apparently made this statement over 2500 years ago, I've found it to be applicable to several trout streams this season. 

I haven't been fly fishing long, so I haven't had a chance to really get to know one particular stretch of water yet.  That's starting to change this season.  I've hit a lot of different streams this spring, yet most of them I've fished previously at one point over the past couple years.  It's been interesting to return to familiar stretches of water where I've caught fish before and know where the trout are lying. 

It's also very interesting to see the same stretches of water fish so differently on different days, whether that means during different seasons or just different days of the week.  It amazes me how differently the trout act depending on sun/clouds, warm air/cold air, rain/dry.

On one particular stretch of stream that I've managed to fish on three separate occasions this past month, I've had three very different fishing experiences.  On my first visit, the rain had just subsided and I was faced with bluebird skies, wind, and warm temperatures.  The trout were very spooky, but I managed to get some on a Royal Wulff with an olive caddis emerger as a dropper.  My second visit was on a cloudy, cool, and damp day.  The trout made it easy, and though there were #20 and #22 olives and midges hatching, I had success with the "Usual" and a pink squirrel dropper.  On my most recent visit to this stream, I faced another bright day with spooky trout, but the flies that had worked my first time out were pretty much ignored by the trout this time.  Eventually when the sun started setting, I ended up catching some nice fish on a black X-caddis pattern.

 So obviously the weather impacts trout behavior, whether it's the brightness that makes the fish skittish or the air temperature that determines insect hatches.  Regardless of the influencing factors, I enjoy the fact that trout fishing is not guaranteed to be the same on a particular stretch of stream on any particular day.  I guess I like the challenge of never being able to step into the same stretch of water twice and catch trout the same way each time.

Although these three experiences differed significantly in the fishing, they all shared a few things in common:  trout were caught, good times were had, and new flies were added to my arsenal.