Fly Fishing,    Flies,    Road Trip

Fly fishing envy

By Tom Chandler 6/23/2006

Fly fishing isn't exactly life or death (though the trout might disagree), but sometimes it can seem that way. At least it can when the fish are eating dries and for some unimportant reason (and they're all unimportant when the hatch is on) you're not out there trying to catch a few.

It's OK; there's another hatch on the calendar, but rather than count on the passage of time to create more dry fly fishing, I'm going fishing this evening. Staying in and catching up isn't a bad idea, but the concept of my not catching fish while Raine cavorts on the Henry's Fork is a little hard to take (you see, living on a good trout river is not protection from an attack of envy).

Fly fishing the Firehole
A 14" Firehole bow. Fly fishing's beautiful even when you're not casting... (Jack Raine photo)

And speaking of Raine, he and Jack had an excellent time on the Firehole (as predicted by the Yellowstone Fly Fish blog) and are on their way back to the Henry's Fork (or "Fork" if you're into fly fishing hip). Jack continues to admirably fill the trip photojournalist role with another nice picture.

They're both enjoying the hell out of themselves (the goal of the trip after all), but they seem to be running into a certain kind of person - fly fishers with logos on their hats, grimness on their faces, and an approach to fly fishing that suggests all kinds of mental pyrotechnics occuring beneath the surface. My advice? Don't be one of those guys.

The Beetle Bug busts out

Every time I mention the mighty Beetle Bug I get e-mails about the fly. I love the pattern, but no - I wouldn't necessarily recommend fishing it through a BWO hatch. Still, as far as attractors go, it's a confidence fly - something I know has worked in the past, will probably work again, and could conceivably work work on the next cast. For those willing to slave over a hot vise, here are some excellent directions for tying the Beetle Bug from the eflytyer site, which is also an interesting online shop specializing in fly tying materials. Given my prediliction for the underdog, I suggest giving this shop a try, if only because they're not one of the monster retailers.

What am I forgetting in this post? After averaging only a couple hours of sleep a night, I have no earthly idea. At this point, I can amuse myself for hours simply trying to spell my own name, and I wonder what the LT Nancy is going to find by the time she gets back from her business trip on Sunday. Probably a gibbering idiot. But not tonight. Tonight I fish. See you on the river (literally), Tom Chandler.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

"At this point, I can amuse myself for hours simply trying to spell my own name..." Shoot, I bet you could do the same after several nights of 14 hours sleep in a row. Creative Insomnia is a powerful force in the universe, however. I mean, look what it has done for me! Maybe you're just lying there, waiting with baited breath for my next wonderful report on Asian carp? Well, wait no more! I'm sending ... more pictures soon... Your traveling reporter, TR
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As for the hatches, nothing's ever for sure, but yeah, I do keep track of that stuff. And without hatch charts, how would the herd know to show up at the Henry's Fork at Green Drake time? The only thing they all get wrong is not bringing enough Beetle Bugs. It's the Wally the Wonderdog of flies; lumpy and enthusiastic, and it'll keep on running (tongue hanging out) until it drops. Chris and Jack's ... more trip sounds pretty epic. Good fishing shading to great every once in a while, and enough mechanical hardship (apparently sheared off the valve to their water tank too) to keep it interesting. Think they're on their way towards Colorado Springs, with enough miles between them and the academy that there might only be a little fishing.
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I forgot, I'm reading “Still Life with Brook Trout” also. I always like his stuff. Chris and his son look like they are having a great time. I'm sure these will be great memories. Some of my best times were spent fishing with my dad and grandfather. rriver
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I actually had a steelhead come up and try to eat my "Odd Ball Quill Gordon" last night. I choked on the hookset and couldn't get it to come up again. I looked at the Rogue summer steelhead fish counts over Gold Rey (279 on June 15th), and realized that was a minor miracle. I continued to miss fish the rest of the night. I think I ended up landing 4 dinks and one 12-14 incher that actually was a decent ... more fish. The night previous I went 10 for 10 on rises before muffing it, the best fish close to 2 lb cut. Law of averages I guess. - rriver
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TC, knows the hatches of the Upper Sac, and on the Upper Rogue, but I may not let him come up and jinx me on the March Brown hatch next year here. Every time he came up the hatch was on but the fish wouldn't come up. I sure it wasn't the 39 deg. water that shut them down. David
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Hmmmmm... So let me see if I understand this properly. By studying the historical data on hand regarding previous hatches, and then taking into account other real-time influences such as water flows, temperature, etc., you're able to accurately predict when a particular species of insect will hatch, and then “calendar” it. Then, on the anointed day and at the proper time, you head down to the ... more river and (undoubtedly) capture a specimen in order to determine (confirm?) its precise size and color. Finally, with all of the hard work now behind you, it's time for the scientific climax: you spend the next several minutes calmly and carefully comparing said specimen to the hundreds of nuanced patterns in your fly box, after which you select and then tie on the single most appropriate artifical for this particular moment, that being... a beetle bug. Is that about right? Just curious.
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Why am I awake? Insomnia, baby. Gets worse when work stress piles on. Lay a couple nights end to end and life takes on a surreal tint, which - come to think of it - is perfect for a fly fishing blogger. I mean, how much odder can things get? And yup, certain hatches come at certain times of the year (though they're seemingly affected by continental drift, magnetic field fluctuations, and the unavailability ... more of vacation time). Why do you think I go to Tennessee in May? It's way too early for the swimsuit season, so the reason's gotta be the bugs... I'd say we're at the back end of the Green Drake window, but it's time for the Pink Alberts, PEDs and PMDs - plus a few sorta mustard colored mayflies that may be the spinner form of one of the above. And the caddis. The always-forgotten caddis. And Longcreek, the mental pictures you're experiencing are merely one manifestation of my considerable writing powers, backed by two decades of experience using Swedish mind control techniques in my ad writing. (you are getting sleeeeppy... sleeeeeeepy....)
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The Trout Underground "Rarely Accurate, Often Odd, Always Opinionated" Now do you really think TC can calendar a hatch? Just the mental image of Raine or Tom cavorting on a stream is more than I can take. Wading, falling in, casting, getting hung up, those are normal activities. But cavorting?
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So Tom, why the lack of sleep? Working too much? One too many slaw dogs for dinner? The Raines having all that fun without you keeping you awake? At least you're getting out and going fishing. I'm looking forward to reading about what I hope will be another successful evening for you on the river tonight, shared with good friends. I just started reading yet another of John Gierach's books, which is ... more probably the next best thing to actually fishing, at least for me. This one is titled “Still Life with Brook Trout,” and in it he describes how he and A.K. Best and a few other fellows once tied a fly line to a dog's collar, then threw a tennis ball out into a field and held on for dear life. Of course, I immediately decided that this was something I had to try for myself, so this weekend I plan to take the dogs to the park for a half-hour or so and have at it. (Sorry, but I still haven't found time to get out and annoy the carp.) And one other thing: call me an idiot, but how do you calendar a hatch? I've never heard of such a thing (though that doesn't mean much). Are some species of insects that predictable? Just curious.
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