May 21st, 2001
The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
Archive of Readers Casts
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .
My Little River
By Old rupe
My river is like the poem. On the good days you will be
rewarded with comments like "nice fish,"or "good catch,"
and you will be mistaken for "that guide fellow from Columbus."
On those good days I've caught fish that have amazed me, big
fish that came easily to the fly, one after the other, each stream
section alive with uncountable numbers of rising fish. What a river!
There was a little girl,|
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead,
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The original text as he sang it to his second
daughter while carrying her about, not Mother
Goose as some have suggested.*
When the river is 'on' it can deliver trout fishing to the Queen's
taste. I have stood below the 29 bridge and looking upstream
have seen so many rises it looked as if it were raining on the
water. It was there I had a 17 inch brown nail a muddler
minnow I had been fishing behind a cedar sweeper. I hopped
the muddler over the log and the trout followed over also,
nailing the fly before it hit the water. I almost lost the fish I
was so surprised. I have watched fish hit terrestrials above
the bridge with such abandon I just knew they had to be
smallmouth bass. I caught and released one there a long
time ago. It was a feat I have never been able to repeat.
A lone warrior far from his normal environs. Each time
I fish the spot I imagine him still there, five pounds heavier,
just waiting for my fly. I have forgotten many of my salmon
over thirty pounds but not that eleven inch bass. I wonder
why such an insignificant fish can make such a mark on a
mans soul. I will remember it until I die.
Above the junction with Kings Creek I always find big fish
rising to the midge in the fall. How they escape the bait
fishermen and others always amazes me. I only fish a
Pepper Trico to them on my 2 wt. with an 8x tippet. I
have a special box of English hooks that I only tie on
to fish there. I have never landed one of those monsters.
Vicious fish, the rulers of an obscure freshet.
I think my friend Tim and I are the only ones who fish the
water above the old cattle gate. Maybe I'm the only one left
who remembers where it used to be. It was there that Tim
caught a real nice trout on a size 14 elk hair caddis. That fly
was a monster for my river. I had finally forced Tim to fish
a fly larger than a size 18. After that fish he said he would
never be afraid to fish a big fly again. I broke two irreplaceable
rods one day floating into the spot. I have never floated with
strung rods since. This water is the last to cloud up after a
rain and I have spent many a misty afternoon scouring that
rock ledge for nice fish. If I owned the property I would have
put up a cattle gate also, but in my case it would be to keep
out other fishermen.
The water above the dam has a hatch every evening during
the season. The flies are 24's and smaller. Every now and
then a size 20 blue winged olive will take one. Leave your
4 wt. at home. It's too big a rod for the water. I have stood
in the water waiting for the hatch to happen so many evenings
that herons throw mating calls to me. I finally had to develop
an "I've got a headache reply." I had even tried waiting
mid-stream in a lawn chair, but when I got up it floated
away. I was glad no one was watching that evening.
Four or five bridges south big fish thrash in the deep shaded
water under the bridge all day long. I have fished it 6-8 hours
at a time. It's easier to get elected sheriff on the Democratic
ticket than it is to catch one of those bridge splashers. My
few success's have all been on a size 20 soft hackle. It's
great to catch big fish on a 2 wt. when others are watching.
When they ask what I'm using, I lie.
In the spring I fish the castle stretch of a tributary. A size
16 elk hair caddis is it. If the presentation is three inches
off the bank forget it. The undercut banks are there but hard
to spot. I have done well on the dam section. I fish it from
the road and lay the line on the berm with just the leader
in the water. Just fish to risers.
The water table is down and being a spring creek my river
just doesn't have as much water as it normally does. Many
of the undercut banks I used to float a fly next to are long
since high and dry. I hope this is just a cycle, but the sad
fact is everyone needs more water and little is being
replaced. As the area becomes increasingly more urban
I can only expect the situation to deteriorate.
Sunday I tried my river again. Saturday's rain had clouded
the river and even the cattle gate section was devoid of trout.
I brought my good binoculars (Steiner 7x50's) and glassed
long stretches I didn't feel like walking. No risers! I was
so disgusted I didn't even go to Crabill's burger shop. I
finished the day at the 36 bridge and poured myself an
Absolute and 7-Up. My little river, like the girl in the
poem was very bad indeed. The message under the cap
of the 7-Up bottle said it all. "Please try again." ~ Old rupe
Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow, Random Memories, Boston,
(Houghton Mifflin 1922 ) 15
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