I guided Steven today and we had about the nicest August weather you could hope for: sunny, about 80 degrees, and low humidity. The fishing was pretty fair, too. The river was crystal clear, 324cfs in the Upper TMA, and 64 degrees. Not much in the way of hatch activity, but you take what you get and make soup.
Steven had missed my most recent “Wet Flies 101” class at UpCountry Sportfishing, so we spent the day covering the curriculum. He did an outstanding job. Funny thing: the first run we fished, there was a guy swinging wets. We watched him hook and land a nice trout. Turns out it was Ted, who took my class in May this year.
After Ted left, we waded in and took several fish, including this lovely wild brown that was rising on the edge of a shade line in less than two feet of water:
Next, we headed off to the lower river. Slimmer pickings, with only one juvenile salmon to show. We finished the day in the upper TMA. We fished several very sexy seams and pockets with no love, but then things picked up in the last hour.
“Are you still there?” When my students are fishing wets on the dangle and they feel a strike, I tell them to ask that question before they set the hook. (When swinging flies for Atlantic salmon in the UK, you say, “God save the Queen.”) One of the biggest challenges for a new wet fly fisher is not setting the hook when they feel the tug. It’s a highly challenging reflex to overcome, and failing to do so usually means pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Steven was struggling with it as much as anyone does early on, but by the end of the day, he was proudly announcing, “I waited that time!”
And every time he did, the trout was still there.