Sunday, May 17, 2009

I reckon ya gotta start somewhere...

Sixteen years ago I had my first taste of the joys of fishing, catching endless fish during the summer of ‘93 in the lakes and rivers of upper Minnesota near the Boundary Waters. This was not a normal summer for me. I grew up in a place where the “rivers” are lined with concrete. Where it almost never rained, and when it did rain I would get stoked about storm runoff into the nearby canyon. I grew up in Southern California.

When I moved to the SOUTH, it didn't take me long to get used to how spoiled I had suddenly become; the ponds, lakes, creeks and rivers are seemingly endless. I thought I was in heaven, or something close to it. For the first few years of my teens I fished like a madman, wetting my line whenever I could, mainly hunting for bass in the ponds and rivers of East Tennessee. As I grew older I started to “grow out” of fishing, started shooting hoops instead, then after that I sort of came to the inexplicable conclusion that I had better things to do with my time; really “important” things like school and work. I have come to a different conclusion in the last couple years. I asked myself, why can’t I do both? Why not? Answering that question was pretty easy, since there was no answer and with that I have jumped back into the pursuit of fins, scales and tails.

Last year I began down a path that seems to be leading to a dangerous addiction when I bought my first fly rod. The journey is just getting interesting, the good fruits of success beginning to exceed the dark moments of despair. The fish are fickle no matter what hemisphere or continent you are in, so I am learning to enjoy the adventure of simply trying to find the fish as much as landing them-enjoying the surprises that lie just upstream. This blog is a place for me to report on what I see and learn in my journeys to tame the trickiest trout, to hunt all the varieties of fish I can, and any other significant not-so-related adventures that occur along the way.

The East Prong of the Roaring river and the Mitchell River are quickly becoming favorites of mine. The North Carolina Department of Fish and Game has designated these waters as delayed harvest, keeping the baitfishers at bay from October to May, meaning there are actually good populations of trout for most of the year.

Me and 5star hit these rivers on a dark and rainy day recently and absolutely slew. This was my first time actually nymphing properly; before this I had never even used a strike indicator with any of my underwater patterns! I learned so much on this day; mainly that the fish don’t care if it is raining or snowing, they are going to hit what looks like food, and on this day that was the beadhead hare’s ear nymph. I lost count of the fish I caught on this thing. The second thing I learned was that I absolutely needed to get a camera and start documenting my fishing “training” better!

Fivestar and I split up and hiked and worked different sections of the rivers. He did well also, working a copper john nymph.

The biggest fish of the day came on the East Prong and must have been over 20”; she slithered away before I could get a tape measure to her. A big healthy brown trout with a bright yellow, almost orange mouth, just beautiful.

The biggest fish I hooked up with on the Mitchell was also a brown, 16” of pure lean muscle.

I can’t wait to get back to these “training” grounds!

An average brown trout from a great day on the river.