Thursday, May 22, 2014

Double Rigs - OK they work.

"Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains." - Henry David Thoreau

I think I mentioned in one of my other posts that there are two kinds of religion when it comes to fly fisherman, the dry fly fisherman and the nymph fisherman. And in the post I pretty much claimed myself as a dry fly fisherman. I am not sure why I do not enjoy fishing more with nymphs. I think maybe it is because I can't see what is going on very well, because all of the action happens underwater. I think for me half the fun is watching the fish eat the dry fly off the surface or watch him follow it and his instinct take over and decide there is something not quite right and decide not to eat. That to me is the essence of fly fishing.

 Now saying all of that, I know that isn't even a reasonable way to think, because a huge percent of a trout’s diet comes from nymphs and sub-surface food sources. So in other words, if you want to catch fish you have to learn to nymph fish, if even just a little bit. And saying all of that, I know how to nymph fish and am kinda good at it, meaning that I can usually tell the difference between a fish strike and a rock, but I am certainly not an expert or even close to it. I just don’t enjoy it very much, which is why I don’t fish that way very often.

Last night I was supposed to meet a co-worker up the Pan for an evening of fishing. He never showed, but I fished. I resolved to myself yesterday while I was on my way up to my spot on the Pan that I was going to nymph all evening no matter what. I was going to fish a double rig and I was going to catch a fish. So to my non-fly-fishing below is photo of what that rig looks like. At the top of the rig you have your indicator (which is essentially a bobber, but in fly-fishing it is called a strike indicator or just an indicator) then down a ways depending on how deep you want to fish is the first fly, this one is usually a bigger fly than the second fly. There are a lot of combinations and thoughts behind these rigs. In fact there are hundreds of books written about nymphing and rigging. It is a science all in itself.  

I got all rigged up with a size 16 pheasant tail and a size 18 black zebra midge. I don’t use split shot for weight. Every fly fisherman in the world just moaned and called me an idiot. And I am OK with that. The theory there is the split shot gets the fly down to the fish, I get it believe me but I prefer to use bead-head flies for weight, I feel the rig drifts more naturally. But that is me. Anyway, 5 casts in I saw that indicator pause and dart sideways just enough I knew I had a good strike, I lifted up my rod and sure enough felt the weight on the end of the line. Fish on. A few seconds later I had a very nice brown in the net. He took the zebra midge. I was as proud as new father looking at his baby for the first time as I set that fish back in the river. As I continued to fish I changed the second fly a few times as things weren't happening looking for that perfect combination. I went from that zebra midge to an RS-2, then a Juju baetis, a prince nymph and then finally a fly that I tied. Which is pictured below. It is tied on a size 16 scud hook using a glass bead, red ultra-wire and some peacock ice dubbing. Pretty basic fly as far as tying goes but it is cool looking if nothing else.

I was moving up and down my favorite run on the Pan which includes Melissa’s Run and The Rock. I got to one of favorite runs that has not yet been named. I had a great drift going in a perfect seam and sure enough I saw a nice flash of a fish body and then my indicator went down. I got a good hook set and started the fight. Another brown in the net a minute later, this was a nicer one, about 18” long and fairly fat, best part? He took the fly that I tied. After I let him go I was once again beaming with pride, as a fly-fisherman there is no better feeling in the world as catching a fish on a fly that you tied yourself. 

After a quick check of my rig and adjusting the depth of the indicator I was back in. A few casts later another fish, and once again on my fly. Another brown in the net, another nice fish. I removed the fly and placed him back into the cool waters of the Pan and decided to call it a night and head for home. I was very happy with the three nice fish I caught. I was able to catch fish the way I set out to catch them and that was very satisfying for me. I proved to myself a couple things, first nymphing works. (Which I already knew, but just choose to not believe it.) and two, and most importantly I do have the patience for it and it is kind of exciting. 

While I prefer dry fly fishing more I understand that nymphing is the arguably the “easiest” way to catch a trout since most of their meals come from below the surface, last night I had an absolute blast fishing. I need to get it into mode of more nymphing, because it works and it is pretty fun. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sometimes a good name is the key...

“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.” -Washington Irving

Because I don’t think that anyone is going to rename the FryingPan to Eric’s FryingPan or even Eric’s River, I have begun renaming my favorite fishing spots on Pan to things that make sense to me, mostly because I want to feel some sense of ownership in my river. I only have renamed a couple of spots that I fish. I thought maybe I would cover them, in case I use these names in my posts so you will have an idea of what I am talking about.

I mentioned one in an early post, Gandalf’s Stick. I got that name because I used a huge stick that looked very much like Gandalf’s staff from the Lord of the Rings movie to cross from one side of the FryingPan to the other. When I reach the side I put the stick in the rocks. Now forever to me that location will be known as Gandalf’s Stick. Gandalf’s Stick is a series of three pools in a row that is a perfect dry fly area. It is my favorite area to fish. I seem to always have a great luck here. Not sure if it is the legend of Gandalf that is in the air there, but I like to think it is
Melissa’s Run, this is a wonderful seam that Melissa fishes all of the time and between her and I she is the only one that has got a fish out of it. It is a great nymphing run, and a great area for bigger dry fly’s because it is a little faster running. She does really well in it and therefore I have named it after her.

Horse Path Pool, this is a great pool that I was fishing once and I looked up and there was a train of horses and two owners coming out of the woods. I was not expecting that at all when I went out fishing that day. I got out of the way and a dozen horses tied together came out of the woods and crossed the Pan. They apologized for making me move and for messing up my fishing. It was a very cool site to see all of those horse walking across the Pan. The pool is maybe 10’ long and a couple feet wide. There are always a lot of fish in it and they seem to like little dry fly’s. I always fish the area with my 1 weight rod.

The Rock or Eric’s Rock as Melissa calls it. Some of you maybe have seen a picture of me on my Facebook page fishing by this rock. It is a huge square rock, which always has some big fish around. It is tricky to fish because there is fast water moving around the rock and the fish seem to be in the slower water behind the rock. It is a tricky combination of casting and mending to get your fly in a perfect location to work the slower water behind the rock. The edges of the faster water has also produced fish for me. It is another favorite for me.

Pool under the Pine, this is a cool pool that is about 10” deep, it has some great little seams that run into it providing food for the always 8 or so fish that are always in it. This is a special place for me, I caught the only Brook Trout I have ever caught out of the Pan in this pool. It is just as the name says a pool under a pine tree. The pine is huge and extends branches over the pool, which shades the water, which gives the trout a place to hide. In the shadow. Casting into this pool can be tricky because you have to cast sideways to get your fly under the tree. I looked in this pool the other day and there were fish in there. I will start fishing this pool regularly now.

Jeff’s Spot, this is the first place I ever fished in the FryingPan. And also the spot in which I was lucky enough to be right in the middle of a full on Green Drake hatch. I fished this with my friend Jeff Lyons on a guide trip that I took with him. I have caught a lot of fish in this area, but never like that day with Jeff, it was a once and a lifetime occurrence.

Julie’s Spot, this is a great run that my friend Julie showed me. Maybe 200’ feet long and loaded with fish. I have caught a ton of fish in this area. Tricky to get into, the hill is a little steep, but worth the walk down the hill. I have been to this spot only one so far this year. I like this spot a little later in the summer, I have had amazing luck here fishing big Royal Wulff's and Humpy’s.

The Good Side of the Island, I found this spot last weekend. It is amazing. It is an small island in the middle of the Pan and the side that I fished was a nice calm run with lots of pools, seams and there were a lot of fish in there. I had the most interesting experience here. I found a rather nice Rainbow sitting in a hole feeding, he was eating nymphs and rising to surface bugs. I fished to him for maybe an hour. I would drift a dry, he would come up and look, and pass, I would drift the same fly again, he would rise, hit and miss. I would drift again, he lost interest. I would change flies and he the whole process would start again. We went through this process a number of times and it was really interesting to watch this fish. It was like a weird dance, where neither of us really knew what to do to meet each other. I didn't catch him and part of me is happy that I didn’t. Half the fun of that was the experience of trying to trick him and him winning. I found the experience peaceful, it seemed that it was just me, him and the water around us. This is a spot I will frequent
Bone Pile, Melissa and I found this spot this earlier year. It was marked with about 4 piles of bones from Deer and Elk. I have no idea if it was a cleaning area for hunters or what the hell happened there. There were bones everywhere in the woods leading to the river. It was pretty creepy. I am looking forward to go back to this spot when the flow of the river goes down a bit. I think it will be a great spot.

I have a lot of fun fishing here on the FryingPan and part of that fun has been naming the spots that I like to fish. If you ever fish with me. I will show you these spots and maybe you will come up with better names than I have.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ode to an Adams

"To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation- come by grace, and grace comes by art, and art does not come easy." - Norman Maclean

I think that all fly fisherman have a go to fly. A fly that is their favorite, I am no exception. My favorite fly is a parachute Adams. I love the Adams, I have a million of them in my fly boxes and it is almost always the first fly I try when the trout are rising, or even if they aren't I will fish the Adams. The Parachute Adams is a fly that imitates an adult Mayfly, which means it imitates an awful lot of bugs. So in other words, it doesn’t just look like one thing, it looks like many things. One version of the story claim The Adams fly was developed in 1922 in Michigan by Leonard Hallady. He named the fly after his friend, Judge Charles F. Adams. Others claim the originator of the Adams fly is unknown. I think I like the creator unknown version better, I like to think that one day the Adams just showed up and no one knows where it came from, the fishing gods just made it appear. Yeah, I like that version better.

I fished a lot this past weekend and during that time I found an Adams on the end of my tippet for about 90% of the time I was casting. Why? Because for me it works. It is a beautiful little fly that is easy to fish. It is easy to cast, very easy to see and most importantly it catches fish. The white post, called a parachute helps to make this fly highly visible on the water. I have also seen the post tied with bright pink, orange, and even black yarn, but I think I like the white post the best. I find it the easiest for me to see. I have fished a parachute Adams down to a size 26 which is very small. The image of the Adams on the quarter is a size 22, so a 26 is a bit smaller. But even with something that small, that white post is easy to spot and stands out like a beacon of hope as it gently drifts down the stream. I think that is one of the main reasons I like it so much, I can see it very well. And when you are dry fly fishing, half the battle is being able to see your fly.

I was laughing to myself this past weekend, I had just arrived at the location that I was going to fish on the FryingPan, I stopped and looked around for bug activity and seeing none, I thought perfect, Parachute Adams time. I should have been fishing with nymphs, but to me I would rather practice my casts and my dry drifts then fish properly and actually catch a fish or two. I kid, but what I mean is I have a lot of faith in my ability to fish an Adams and I have pulled out a lot of fish using an Adams when there wasn't a bug in the air and I was hoping that day would be no exception… Fifth cast in I had my first fish of the day. Another victory using the Adams. A nice Brown came up to check out the size 18 Adams that was floating above him, he decided to eat and a minute later he was in my net wondering how that bug beat the crap out of him. I reached into my net, grabbed the confused fish, said hello, carefully removed the Adams and sent that Brown back on his way. I remember I took a moment and looked at the fly and thought, “this is my favorite fly and I have to let the world know.” I have now done that, me and my parachute Adam’s have a good relationship. It is my favorite fly and it is for a good reason. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It starts somewhere.

“Begin, be bold, and venture to be wise.”  ― Horace

   My fly fishing beginnings are humble. When I bought my first fly rod I was a hardened Largemouth Bass fisherman, in fact at the time there was nothing better than catching a bucket mouth on a yellow single bladed spinnerbait in Forest Lake and Lake Kohlmann. But like all things I wanted to try to catch Bass in another way, so for some reason I thought about getting a fly rod. I went to Burger Brothers in Roseville MN and talked to a sales person whom asked me about my fishing and what I fished for and put me into an 8’ 6 weight St Croix Rod and a Browning reel. He helped me pick out line and spooled the reel with backing and put my line on for me. There were weird knots to tie and I told him I didn't know them, so he showed me as he went along as he helped set up my new gear. I bought a couple leaders and a few flies, I was mostly set.

   I went home and looked at my new stuff and thought, “Now what?” There was no internet to watch YouTube videos to learn how to do anything fly fishing related. So I went out in my front yard and tried casting. I guess I really never thought of books, or taking a lesson, teach yourself seemed to be the way to go. I certainly know now that it wasn’t, but for someone that had never had a fly rod in their hand or even really thought much of fly fishing, the casting motion came fairly natural to me. I was able to get a fly out about 30 feet or so with minimal problems, which I figured would be enough for what I wanted to do. My next task was to find some waders which I did the next day I think if I remember right. After all my new gear was procured, it was time to go out and give it a try. At the time I was dating a girl whom luckily for me was an avid fisherman as well and enjoyed being out on the water as much as me. We would take my little 14’ boat out on area lakes and fish for hours. It truly was a great time of my life. Not much of a job, I lived at home with my parents, didn’t need much money, so I fished a lot and I fished with a person whom at the time cared for deeply. We had a great time together always on the water but, saying that she didn’t have much interest in fly fishing so she would come with me and sit on the shore and read while I attempted this odd way to catch fish. The first place I ever used my new fly rod was at Lake Johanna in Roseville MN, it is a smaller lake with a sand bottom, a fair amount of aquatic weeds in the right places, but more importantly it was loaded with pan fish, Largemouth bass, Northerns and Muskie. In fact the only Muskie I have ever had on my line was at that lake, but that is a story for another day.  Lisa set up shop on the shore with a blanket and her book, while I geared up and waded in a bit. I will never forget it; I put on a glo-bug fly and started casting (badly). I remember the guy at Burger Brothers told me to get the fly out and “strip” it in and showed me a few different stripping styles, well sure enough about 2 casts in I had my first fish on a fly. It was a very bold little sunfish that hammered that little glo-bug. I don’t think Lisa could believe that I actually caught a fish so quickly, but when I think about it, Sunfish eat anything, the fly or presentation doesn’t really matter when it comes to them, they are aggressive and hungry.  So saying that it really wasn’t all that impressive like I thought maybe it was.

   I remember many days at Lake Johanna with my friend catching sunny after sunny, and then finally I got my first Bass on a fly. I think if I remember right he was maybe 8” long, but as Bass go he put on the aerial show, a couple nice jumps from the lake to show that he wasn’t giving up. It was truly an amazing feeling at the time to accomplish what I set out for. A Largemouth Bass on a fly! I fished for a few years like that. That St Croix got a lot of use. I caught a lot of fish with that rod. Sadly I never got into any big Bass, but lots of 10” – 14” fish so that was always a good time. I always wanted to get a big one, but it never happened.  My biggest Bass was 22.75” which was a beast. I have still have the photo of her. I should scan that to digital and post it. I was young, good looking and that fish was massive!

   The thought of catching Trout never even crossed my mind as I remember those early days; it was only Bass and panfish.  I do remember seeing a video of a guy catching a bonefish on a fly rod and I was mesmerized. That was now my goal, to hook a Bone on a Crazy Charlie fly and watch the line peel off my reel as he runs for the horizon on some lonely flat in the Caribbean.

   While my understanding and love of fly fishing has changed over the years and Lisa and I have parted ways, my goal of hooking a Bone has stayed with me. I don’t fish for Bass much at all anymore; I haven’t caught one in years, it is all trout now. But that idea of standing knee deep in that warm blue water, sight casting to a single Bone tailing and seeing my Crazy Charlie skirting across the bottom out of the corner of his eye, coming to investigate, eating and making that run to the edge of the ocean still weigh heavily on my mind. I will catch a Bonefish before I stop fly fishing. I want to hold one in my hand, I want to see that silver/gray skin up close, shit I might burst into tears when I pull him out of the water to take that Charlie out of his mouth. I will not apologize or be embarrassed at all if that were to happen, because only I will understand the road that brought me to that moment in my fishing time.

   I think about this story every once and a while when I am out fishing. My fishing places are different now, the Eagle River, Roaring Fork, the Yampa, the Blue River and my beloved FryingPan, which are all world class fly fishing locations. My roots are in Lake Johanna in Roseville Minnesota, which no world class fly fisherman has ever heard of. I remember those times with Lisa, learning to fly fish, catching sunnies and thinking I was a great fly fisherman! It is both funny and sad how things change. That time in my life there was nothing else but fishing and a girl. No real responsibilities, no cares, no worries. But those things are what brought me to now, and I wouldn’t change any of it. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Winter is going and it is time.

“Adventure is still an adventure even if you can still see your car.”

I think it might be time to fire this up again… I haven’t been lazy or most importantly I haven’t not had anything to say but I have been enveloped in the magic of winter and skiing in the mountains. So essentially let’s say I was on a powder skiing hiatus. So consider this the winter recap…

Having survived my first Colorado winter, I will say that it was the easiest winter I have ever endured. Did we get a lot of snow? YES! You bet we did, almost 400” of the white stuff. Was it cold, kind of? I think we had 10 days or so below zero, but it wasn’t -20 or anything like that, it was more like -2 to -5 with hardly a wind chill, in Minnesota -5 with no wind chill is shorts and Frisbee weather. The best part of the cold weather here is, when the sun is out and it was below zero, it never really felt cold. I was never miserable and I when it would snow, nothing closed down, the roads were easy to drive, people were happy and it was just an easy winter. It is interesting see this side of winter, people here love winter and embrace it.

Winter did come early here to Aspen, it started snowing pretty heavily in late October and continued pretty much all through and up to about mid-December. In fact the conditions were so good that Aspen Mountain opened 2 weeks early and Snowmass opened a week early. I skied on opening day at Aspen which was Saturday November 16th. It snowed all day while I was there and it turned out to be an awesome opening day. The mountain was in great shape, good coverage, and I think if I remember right the mountain was about 70% open. Which from what I heard was the best opening in years! I skied all day and had a blast. The snow was soft and like I said it was snowing and it was snowing hard enough that by the time you finished your run and got to the top and started over your tracks were covered and you were skiing fresh tracks. We call that a powder day with free refills.

Before I go on, I should tell you a little bit about me and skiing. I started skiing just 7 years ago and I instantly fell in love with the sport. I am not a great skier, I am not a fast skier, I would rather take my time, stop here and there and take in my surroundings and just enjoy my time in the mountains. What I am is a consistent skier, I make a lot of turns and just cruise around the mountain at my own pace and in my own world. I can ski “some” double diamond terrain and pretty much all single diamond stuff, well at least here at the four mountains around me. While I am not an awesome skier, no one loves it more than I do, so I try hard at it and I have a ton of fun just being out there enjoying winter, because it is better to embrace winter then to fight it.

Anyway like I said, my season started early and it was a blast, I skied at Aspen Mountain the first few times and thought it was the greatest thing ever, then I went to Snowmass and everything changed. Besides Big Sky, Montana. Snowmass is the best ski resort I have ever been too. I fell in love with it instantly and found myself there almost every weekend! I felt at home there, the mountain spoke to me and I spoke to it. We have an understanding and a love affair that I cannot explain to anyone. I feel small there, but Snowmass Mountain makes me feel powerful, capable and happy. I learned a few of the secrets to Snowmass during my time there this winter. Secret ski lines, ways to ditch the tourists and have areas to myself. Places to stop, sit and enjoy the amazing vistas or just listen to the wind go through the trees, or if you are lucky which I felt I was a few times, being in an area that was so quiet that you could hear the snow landing around you. Good places to eat and ways to get good deals! There were a few moments this ski season that were spiritual and eye opening for me. I stood multiple times this season at the top of the Cirque Headwall at 12,510’ feet and could see in 30 miles in all directions and felt so small and the realization of what was happening hit me, I was standing on top of a mountain that was massive and had been there for millions of years and would continue to be there for millions more and that I was a mere visitor and nothing more. I let myself enjoy those moments every time and took the time to ponder them. It was amazing to me. The mountains have not lost their lustier for me at all. I still look at them with amazement every day and the day I don’t look at them anymore is the day it is time for me to move back to Minnesota.

Snowmass is a huge place. 3400 skiable acres and 4300 vertical feet of rise. The runs are amazing and long. Some are scary, some are easy, but all are enjoyable. I learned a few things this year. I learned how to ski moguls, how to ski deeper powder and I have started to feel much more confident skiing on steeper terrain. I continued to learn and to push myself into harder and harder areas of the mountain. I skied the Cirque, the Hanging Valley and Powderhorn which are all double diamond zones at Snowmass. The entire time I had a ball and felt that I was getting better and better and having more and more fun each time I was out. But more importantly I was expanding the available terrain for myself which means that the entire mountain becomes my playground which is the most important thing.

Besides the things above I had a few skiing firsts this year as well. I skied in 32” of fresh snow and it was amazing. It took me a little while to get the hang of skiing in snow that deep but it was worth the effort and looking like a complete idiot till I figured it out. Skiing in snow that deep is not easy, you have to forget everything you know about skiing and relearn a little different technique. I also used a Poma lift for the first time. The Poma lift is a round platter on a “stick” that you put between your legs and it pulls you up the hill. It is a little nerve racking at first because if you don’t get it right you will and up falling in front of the lift line and that is never good. I ended up loving the Poma lift at Snowmass and rode it almost every time I skied there this season. It served what ended up being my favorite zone at Snowmass, The Cirque. Huge fun lines, awesome snow conditions and not every many people up there. Win, Win!

My favorite runs at Snowmass turned out to be: The Cirque Headwall, Longshot, Upper and Lower Green Cabin, Coffee Pot, Powderhorn, Slot, Cookies, The Edge, Roberto’s to Lower Ladder and and and… I could continue for a while but I won’t because most of you have no idea what I am talking about anyway.

Snowmass closes this coming Sunday April 20th for the year. I am sad, I am going to go up there and say goodbye to my friend and get a couple last turns in for the season. Aspen Mountain is going to stay open two additional weekends only and will close for the year May 4th. I am not sure I will make an appearance at Aspen after Snowmass closes. As of right now, I have 28 ski days and my total vertical feet skied for the year is 301,241. I was hoping to make it to 300,000 for the season. And I did! Next year I am going to shoot for 400,000. I definitely got my money out of my season ski pass.

Besides of course skiing with Melissa, who is my best ski buddy, I had some friends out this winter to ski with me. My oldest friend Chris whom I have known for almost 38 years. And my buddy Bryan. It was great to see them both and show them around my new home. The skiing was good for both and I think they both had a great time out here with me. I hope they both return next year. I know the mountain even better now! But seeing them made me a little homesick. I am still not 100% here yet, a huge piece of me is still in Minnesota.

But like all things something has to end for another to begin. Ski season is ending for me and it is time to get back out on the water and fly fish. I didn’t fish at all this winter like I had planned on, but every time I was thinking about going fishing it would snow a foot and the call of fresh powder was much stronger for me. So I hung up the rods and waders for the winter and didn’t look back and didn’t regret it. This winter I skied and thought about fishing. Now it is time to fish and think about skiing. On my drive to work or up to the resorts I would always look at the Roaring Fork and the Frying Pan, say hello and smile.
But now it is time for me to get out, get that fly rod back in my hands and my feet back in the Pan. Even though I am sad that one season is ending, deep down I know it is time. The fish are starting to call. 

I hope that your winter was a good one like mine was and I hope you found something in yourself that you didn’t know was there, because I did and it was a great feeling.

Here we go…

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Feature

I am working on a new post so look for that soon. But I did add a "follow" this blog feature. Scroll down to the bottom and you will see a text box where you can input your email address and you will get an alert when I add a new post. If you are interested I hope you will do that. I have had over 900 page views already and I thank you for that. It means a lot that people are interested in what I have to say, if even just a little bit.

I am in Denver this week for work, but my thoughts are back in Basalt fishing...

New post soon.

Thanks again for your support and your kind words.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Eagle River

"The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad."

Melissa and I took a long weekend away from the Aspen area last weekend. We headed down to our favorite resort for a nice relaxing weekend. The weather was perfect and our time away was a nice change of pace. We decided to bring our fishing gear and get some fishing in down in the Eagle River. The Eagle River is another prime trout river here in Colorado. I have fished it many times on vacations and things, but this was the first time I had fished it since moving here. The Eagle River is a free stone river which means that it is not dammed anywhere along its flow, it is known for some decent bug hatches and some big aggressive trout.

I wish I could say that I have gotten into some of those fish mentioned above but alias I cannot. I have fished the Eagle maybe 20 times and I have caught a grand total of exactly one fish, while it was a very nice female 20” Brown it stands to this day as my only fish out of the Eagle. And I have lost another, so two hook ups and one fish in the net in about 20 attempts. Not too good. The Eagle is a tricky river to fish, it is 60 miles long and dotted with tons of private land with no access to the river, that is unless you are floating it. I am a wading fisherman so that leaves a lot of spots out for me. The key I think to the Eagle is you have to know the river, and I do not know it very well at all. I know maybe a handful of spots and while they are good spots, I am guessing they are not the good secret spots the local fishermen in the area know about. So knowing a little back history and I know it is very little, the Eagle and I have a serious love/hate relationship…

I know that I have said numerous times that just being out on the water is the reward for me, but sadly that does not hold true for me when it comes to the Eagle River. I really get mad when I don’t catch anything when fishing the Eagle. And knowing now my record, I am mad more than I am happy when it comes to fishing that river. This time was no exception. I checked the fishing report before heading out and looked carefully at the recommended flies for the area that we were going to fish and they were size 12-16 Orange Stimulators – size 16-20 Elk Hair Caddis and an array of nymphs in the neighborhood of size 18-22, all of which I had in my box, so I figured that this might be the time when I actually caught some fish on the Eagle.
We arrived at our spot at about 11am. It was a nice day, patchy clouds and fairly cool. We got our gear on and headed down to the river. We both staked out locations and started casting. I started with an Orange Stimulator I think if I remember right it was a size 16. Maybe about 20 or so casts moving up and down a section of about 200’ of river. Nothing. No looks, no rises, no refusals... Melissa appeared to be having about the same luck, which was also a big nothing. I switched to nymphs and ran that same stretch of water with the same outcome. Nothing. I started to really look into the river and spy for fish to cast too and I did not see one. I have gotten pretty good at spotting fish in the river so I don’t think I missed them, but of course I could have. It is weird for me to look into a trout river now and not see a fish. Being that the Frying Pan is my home water, at any one time I can look into the river and see at least three or four fish if not more than that. So it is official, I am a trout river snob. The whole time I was fishing the Eagle I kept thinking, “where the hell are all the fish?!?!” I know I have been out fishing on the Pan and not caught anything, but I always at least see fish and usually if I don’t catch anything I have some good refusals, which are also a ton of fun so the trip is never wasted.

Melissa and I fished for about two hours and we left both frustrated and bummed out. We both commented how the Eagle was no Pan. And while we both know it isn’t supposed to be, we both kind of wished it was.
I wonder if deep down the Eagle knows that I am not a fan of it and punishes me because of that. I know fishermen that love the Eagle and catch a lot of fish out of it. But sadly I am not one of those fishermen, well at least not yet. I will continue to fish the Eagle when I get the chance, but it is definitely not my river. The Pan is my river and for now always will be.