Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What if it is all wine and rises?

     Life has a funny way of sneaking up and planting one right on your kisser...weather it be a square left hook, or a big wet kiss. Clearly the left hooks are easier to recognize and "learn" from, but the happier moments are usually as educational, if maybe a little harder to recognize.
     Recently I had a client sit on the bank during a so-so hatch. She was just elated...I was just freaked out! We worked our butts off all morning looking for the trout that wanted to cooperate with the contract I had secretly written with them years ago: "I bring clients, you give up the ghost at least a few times during the day and we'll save any days spent skunked for when I'm alone". We were finally there! She hooked a healthy, wild trout, brought it to hand, and went to the bank.?. Trout were selectively rising, I had finally found the combo (a drown RS2 trailing a Trico) that would surely bring a few more to the net...and she was satisfied. I asked if she was tired? "no!", hungry? "nope!", thirsty? "...uh...no." I was screaming in my head for her to get off the bank and come enjoy some (decent at best...but all things are relative...my job had finally gotten "easy" that day!) great fishing. She asked if I had seen the deer on the far bank when she was fighting her 14" Brown Trout.... I hadn't. I hadn't noticed much that morning outside of the 16' window that represented her drift. Not the canyon, not the mist that the sun chew up and replaced with bright light, not those random, cartoonesque clouds that Colorado skies can produce...not the deer that watched her catch and release her first ever trout on a fly rod...and sadly, not the complete joy and satisfaction she was having from sunrise until her (...untimely?) break.
     I failed the first half of my day as a guide last week. This story has been written a thousand times, it is pretty cliche. 'trout trout trout trout trout'...my mantra was wrong. I believe her mantra sounded a little more like 'oh my gosh this is amazing'. The trout we started with was little more that a punctuation mark on the morning. Not even necessarily an exclamation mark. Just a pause in our dialogue.
     We spent the next hour going over stream structure, trout behavior, other wildlife that occupy the canyon, and entomology.... At the end of a good healthy seine, I opened my (way too many...) fly boxes, and asked her to pick the next rig she would tie on of she were the guide. She picked a tan (14) scud and a small (16) San Juan worm. She hooked up again within a couple casts! Wash, rinse, repeat for the afternoon! We probably brought another 6-8 trout to hand that day. All but the last below the surface and all on bugs she chose from her now obsessive interest in entomology!
     We ended the day sitting on the bank enjoying a little snack and watching a few trout nose the surface. She asked if they were keying on anything in particular. To be completely honest, I wasn't sure. There were a few BWO's up but not a "hatch" by any measure. The Tric's weren't around. I suggested we get back in the water, sans any rods, and see if we could continue to let simple observation and science be our guide....we did...back to the bank, opened a few more boxes, she selected a size 20 "Neil's BWO", made a few horrible casts, followed by one near perfect cast...sip, "SET"!

(I'm a guide after all...shouting 'set' is by now in my DNA), and she brought to hand a wild and beautiful Cheesman Canyon Brown Trout!

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