Home Waters

Photo for the article "Home Waters"

There’s a particular place on my favorite trout creek that I’m always keen to visit. It’s a notch in the bank where a spring feeds into the creek channel. It’s behind a rock and alongside a current seam and underneath a willow of about five years old. I noticed this place sometime last year and thought it would be perfect to hold a fish if only it were a little deeper. As a matter of form and practice I covered the spot with a dry fly, probably a caddis. Before the fly drifted more than an inch or two, there came a splash and a take and I guess it took me by surprise because I set the hook too late. When I walked up to it, I saw that the place was not so shallow as I’d thought at first. By all metrics it was a fine little fish house but of course its occupant was no longer at home. A while later I visited the spot again, though I was probably less hopeful than I had been the first time—the shy, shrewd fish of this creek seem to have a complex system of recordkeeping by which each angler is furnished one chance to make the right move and if he does not he is politely asked to fish elsewhere. I covered the little fish house with my dry fly for a second time. There came a splash and then a take and I guess this took me by surprise because I set the hook too late.

Russ and I went up there tonight. We fished up the stream and the fishing was not terrific, but there were fish for us both. Before I knew it I found myself at the streamside notch and it was my turn on point. I was casting my 12-foot Iwana this time and I put a hometied Purple Haze on the very roof of the fish house. There came the splash but there was no take, and I was fairly certain that the fish had missed the fly. Within two breaths the Purple Haze was back on the water and the fish came for it again. I was ready. It was a cutthroat, just a small one, but in great shape.

“Look at the color on him,” said Russ. “Wow.”

This is a story of home waters—learning something from a stream, revisiting it, and learning something more.

Photo for the article "Home Waters"

Every Day in May

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5 thoughts on “Home Waters

  1. thosnut says:

    Nice home water story. Home water is definitely the place where we hone and learn our skills. We every visit the rivers is more like a lifelong friend. You know where the birds nest nearby, where the fish often are, and where to spend your time trying to catch a beauty like in your story.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very true. Thanks, friend.

  3. Parker James says:

    Very nice story. I love to target a specific fish like that. I have felt on occasion in two specific spots on my local water that the fish and I were playing a game of sorts. The trout knows I’m there, but my part of the game is to present the right fly just the right way that he takes it anyway. Great fun and most of the fun I’ve found resides between the ears. The tug is the bonus albeit a wonderful bonus.
    Nah–forget what I just said.

  4. Thanks for reading and leaving a thought!

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