May 15, 2008

Fly, Spin, Bait...encroach...

Went back to the stream last night...old man in tow. The original plan had been to troll the lake for rainbows. I thought maybe the stream would be a better idea, because:

-the wind is always an unknown on the lake, and it was gusting fairly well yesterday afternoon
-I hadn't been to the lake in over a month, and just didn't know the trout situation out there
-the canoe is uncomfortable enough with one person...almost unbearable with two...especially when I'm rowing
-I knew the stream had plenty of stockies
-I knew the hatches and spinner falls were getting thick
-I hadn't seen another person on my default stretch of the stream since April
-and of course, I wanted to throw flies at browns I could see more than drag lures across a lake over rainbows I couldn't see

I had thought maybe I could convince Dear Old Dad (DOD) to try out the 3wt as well...but he would have none of that.

I should point out here that the section of stream I fish is SMALL. It's no mountain brookie stream (though not much further up it looks like one), but it's widest pools are maybe 30' across, with most of it's width at 20' or under, and made up of very broken pocket water. It isn't somewhere that you can comfortably "share a pool."

Naturally, when we got there around 4, a car was already parked in MY parking spot. That was fine, though, there's a good mile of stream that's (fairly) easily accessible, and I have no problem sharing (to an extent). As we were rigging up, another car arrived carrying a single angler, and the two people fishing the Default Pool were displaced headed home for some supper. 1 for 2...good trade for us.

As the new guy was still over Default Pool, DOD and I headed upstream. I was at the next "large" pool up, and was seeing fish; about a dozen 6-8-ers and at least 2 12+ inch fish. Had 1 rise (from one of the larger fish) and a couple chases on my soft-hackle, but couldn't get a commitment (a bit sunny and early in the afternoon for the caddis). I made my way a couple hundred yards back downstream to DOD (who was fishing a small spoon at a promising-looking-but-typically-devoid-of-fish section downstream of a nice riffle) to coax him up to the pool for a try at one of the lunkers. About half-way through our conversation, new guy shows up on the opposite bank asking how our luck has been. A simple "Nothing yet here" reply and we headed back upstream again.

As we approached the pool and I started giving DOD the lay of the land, I was handed the spinning rod. I tried to get him to make a few casts first, but DOD, bless his heart, wouldn't have it.

Cross-stream and back, couple small chasers.

Across and downstream swing, couple small chasers.

Upstream from below the pool and back down through it, bingo, hit by a little guy.

Reapeat...BINGO...GOOD FISH! Had a 15-16" fish on DOD's rig. I actually felt a bit guilty, but as Dads generally are, he seemed happy to watch it happen (and in this pool, you can see every move the fish makes, so watching can be almost as exhilarating as catching). Of course, as I brought the fish to hand, I started to feel a bit wary, as the new guy had followed us up to the pool on the opposite bank and was witness to this very nice fish.

Let me explain why it bothered me a little to catch such a beauty (albeit ugly due to completely chewed fins) in front of another angler. You see, when it comes right down to it, I'm selfish. Due to it's ease of access (like I've said before, I don't even need to change my shoes after work to fish it), I'll be fishing this stretch as often as 4 or 5 afternoons a week, conditions permitting, through the end of the season. By then, I will have made the fish so wary of my presence, my fly selection and presentation will have to be perfect, which is a good thing...honing skills is important. It also makes it more rewarding, even if I am repeatedly catching the same group of fish. Over the course of the season, I may end up taking home 1 or 2 fish. But I know, if an angler after meat sees me bring in something nice then let it go, they'll have no problem coming back and pounding the area until they get a full meal, and the fish I was hoping to catch a few more times (as it both strengthens its muscles and becomes more selective) over the course of the year, will end up on his plate. Yes, it is 100% selfish. Yes, I am ok with that.

So, as New Guy (from here on, referred to as Potential Threat To My Trout, PTTMT) continues upstream, the trout is returned to the pool. We make a few more casts around the area, DOD with the spin, me with the fly, but by now we have put the fish down, and we head back downstream. Default Pool is now free, and slurps and boils abound. But before I tie on my GG, I stop to pick up some trash...Mepps packages...probably left by PTTMT or his predecessors. The gnat gets some strikes and I bring one fish to hand while DOD is watching, wary of spooking the pool with his spin gear. I tell him to hop in, there's plenty of room here for us both. I decide it's time for a fly change, and while rigging up, PTTMT, now PITAB, or PAIN IN THE ASSSS BAITER, shows up with a can o' worms and a penchant for occupying the already occupied pool. At least an inquiry as to if, or even where, we would or wouldn't mind him setting up would have been appreciated. Instead, all he's interested in is how the action is. I am annoyed.

My intent was to swing the soft-hackle (now that the caddis were showing up) across-and-down. However, since PITAB is standing on the bank 20' downstream of me and casting up-and-across to drift his 'crawler, this plan immediately changes to relocating...downstream a quarter-mile to the next "big" pool. I tell DOD I'll meet him down here. As I pass by, PITAB asks if I want to try his spot (he had just nabbed a small brown...quick release style). Not wanting to get into it with DOD there, a simple "No thanks" and a scowl was my reply.

At the next pool, we both long-released a couple, and DOD brought a (supposed) small rainbow to the bank before it got off. I even scored my first chub of the season (hooray!). PITAB was gone by the time we headed back upstream, and we hit the other two pools shortly, netting one more small brown on the soft-hackle, before heading home.

All in all, it was a great afternoon with the old man. Unfortunately, a small portion of it was soured by another angler's lack of couth. Hey, I've been primarily a spin and bait fisher for nearly 20 years. I enjoy it still, and have nothing against anyone who does the same. But regardless of your style of fishing, a little courtesy for others is all I ask. And to PITAB...you're really kinda a douche. After hopping back into the pool with Pops and I, I'd be surprised if it wasn't your appearance that drove off the other two anglers that were there when you showed up. I suppose that's probably your game plan. I have no problem sharing the stream, I don't own it, but from now on, You just might want to watch yourself around my back-cast.

No comments: