I’ve started writing more for my local paper, lately. It’s a fun way for me to get out and do a little bit of writing that is relatively easy and enjoyable. As part of my new beat, I was sent out to cover a local festival.
As it happened, the festival was located next to a section of a local creek that I’d never really had a chance to see before. I’d heard rumours about the fish in this water, but I’d never seen it.
As I wandered around the event and talked to people, I couldn’t help be distracted by the very, very nice looking stretches of water I could see. It made it a little hard to focus on the task at hand.
Not only were there nice looking runs and pools, but the water was clear and no actual looked fishable. We’ve had an did very wet year here, to the point of almost disaster level flooding. Seeing fishable water was completely unexpected.
A few days later, I freed up some time, packed my rod and flies up, and decided I needed to take a closer look at the water I’d seen.
I had a pretty good idea how I could get to the water I’d seen without having to trespass and started off towards where I thought there’d be some access.
After a bit of bushwhacking and descending a pretty narrow little deer trial, I found my starting point and set up my rod.
Since the water was moving pretty fast, I figured a nymph was the way to start. I worked the first section pretty thoroughly, plumbing the depths a pattern that had served me well on this system in the past.
After maybe 45 minutes, I moved down to the next run and made a few drifts.
Then I just had to stop.
I set my rod aside for a moment and just sat there, taking it all in. I had, without even meaning to, stumbled on a beautiful little spot. I needed a moment to appreciate what I had just found.
Growing up, I was a big fan of spots like this. It’s not really surprising that the boy who would grow into a writer, was a fan of sneaking off and being alone. I would often seek places like this while we were boating on Georgian Bay or on Manitoulin Island when we moved up there (Manitoulin, for anyone who’s familiar with is, is full of little spots like that).
I was happy to have found a spot like this so close to home.
After taking it all in, it was time to get back to fishing. I change my fly to something heavier to account for the water, waded out to get into position and made my cast.
Something hit my indicator almost immediately.
I was taken aback. I hadn’t expected dry flies to be the ticket with the water being as fast as it was, but apparently they were hungry for surface food. A quick fly change, a few more casts and suddenly, boom! I had my first (and only) fish of the day in my hand.
A few casts later, I hooked into another fish. This one was bigger than the others (hitting maybe 8 inches, as opposed to 4), and immediately dropped down over a ledge and shook me off in the turbulent water.
A few casts later, it happened again. And, just like last time, he dropped into the faster water and swam away.
This fish became my mission.
I wandered off to try the dry fly on the first run I’d fished to give the “big one” a chance to mellow out in hopes of getting one more chance at him. The first run still didn’t give up any fish and, after another 10 or so minutes of trying, I was back.
The thing about this fish that really intrigued me wasn’t so much the size, it was how precise everything had to be for me to get a hit. I had to cast to a certain area. Then make a series of mends to try and drift over the exact spot the fish was holding. If everything wasn’t perfect, my fly would just drift on down the river and over the drop off.
Although I managed to get into the fish one more time (and missed a couple of strikes), I never quite managed to land it. I still walked out of there with a bounce in my step. Not only did I find a great little spot to relax, catching fish required some pretty technical fishing. It almost doesn’t get any better than that.
I’m already planning my next trip back there and have found even more spots along that stretch of river I’m planning on fishing.
I never did get everything that I was supposed from the festival I was covered, but I’m looking forward to spending the summer fishing the water I spotted while I was there.