I missed my annual October/November Housy streamer trips this year, so I went yesterday. The HRO website declared that at 860cfs, it was a good time to fish big streamers on a full sink line. I concurred. Sadly, the trout did not. I fished five familiar, favorite pools and came up blank. Not a touch. Oh, I nicked the bottom many times, and sacrificed three streamers to the river gods, but ’twas not my day. Fast water, slower water, pocket water, shallow and deep — bright colors, muted naturals — fast retrieve, slow retrieve, no retrieve — nada. On the positive side, I had the entire river to myself, always a bonus. We’ll get ’em next time.
With both air and water temperatures in the 30s, this is sound advice.
I’m not just into fly fishing for the chicks and drugs and hotel points. I’m also in it for the freedom factor. To able to be outside on a November day when the sun is warm, the river clear, the cigar tasty, and most of the rest of the world is working does a soul incalculable good. So what if the the catching is lousy? The fishing, my friends, is downright brilliant.
This year’s Housy streamer trip came late. I hit four name pools with my Mickey Finn soft-hackled streamer. I swung, mended, stripped, and dangled. One touch with no hook set was all I could manage. The water was an easily wadeable 565cfs, cold, with just the slightest of tea stains. A short trip, two hours, and I nursed my Gispert churchill for the better part of the outing. Swarms of small stuff, mostly midges, without a single riser.
And so, with big river visions taking up residence in my brain, we turn our sights to steelhead.
No tonic like it indeed.