Anglers depend on Mother Nature. We bow in her presence when rewarded with fish, and we pray she is easy on us. She controls water conditions, fish behavior, and weather. Sometimes we try and outsmart her, thinking the water won’t be too high or too muddy after a week of hard rain. We tell ourselves the fish are still hungry. A couple days ago a few of us departed on such a mission. Mother Nature won… No, actually, she kicked our asses.
The night before- I sit in my basement across from Aust as feathers are twisted, deer-hair haircuts, and lager to keep our focus. His looked like a chicken on fire, and mine resembled most of my other musky flies; a bright pink mess of feathers and fur. We end the night after these two flies are completed, unaware of the disappointments the next day had in store for us.
So I set my alarm for 6: 30 PM, I always get them confused, and I wake up to my dog howling, and Aust knocking on my basement door, foreshadowing how the rest of our day was going to unfold.
To make a long story short, this was probably the worst day of fishing I have been a part of for quite some time. We woke up early, drove for a few hours only to find every tributary completely blown, looking like chocolate milk. Somewhat surprising after 10 days of hard rain…? Unfishable, and unsafe. With one last desperate attempt to wet some lines we tried a lake one the way home that holds musky. We get the boat in for maybe 5 minutes before we get waved ashore by a nice Fish and Wildlife officer, and slapped with a 75 dollar fine for having no life jackets on the raft. We were lucky. These are the things we do, and this is fishing. Sometimes, its all about getting the absolute shit kicked out of us by Mother Nature, and the musky.
We ride home defeated, as Aust tells stories of local trout streams, and one that practically runs through my backyard. I knew of it’s existence, but trout seemed too dreamy. My dog learned to retrieve in it’s pools, a place that sparked my passion for the outdoors. I have been walking its banks for years, scouting for fish. My dad got his first fish on the fly there, a little minnow that, to him, is a trophy. People didn’t believe it held trout, and I wasn’t sure if I did either. So after this failed fishing day, I decided to use what little light I had left, and took the dog down to the stream for a hike, rod in hand.
I ended my day with two beautiful wild brown trout. Boh was just as surprised as I was when I pulled them out of their undercut homes. All Icould think about was… Fish Gods. Unexpected glory to end a day of failed fishing. While there is nothing quite like hooking into a big toothy dragon, these are the moments we fish for. These are the moments that ground us as anglers and keep us humble.
Tight lines and stay core.