August 2nd, 2004

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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The Road Less Traveled
By Jeff Doerner (jeff98390j)

If there is one thing I have learned from fly-fishing that I use in everyday life, it is that nothing ventured, nothing gained is more than an old cliché.

There are countless streams in Washington state that you will never read about, hear about, or even see unless one gets out and explores. I have been lucky to find some great water, great scenery, and even great fishing in rivers, or creeks so small that most would pass them up as unproductive. I have even heard others tell me the fishing is not that good, only to find them to be not only a blast to fish, but full of fish eager to take a dry.

When I was working in a sporting goods store while putting myself through school, I often fielded the "where should I go" question. My simple suggestion was that there are so many good rivers and streams around that they should just go out and do some exploring. I have always believed that finding out for yourself is far more rewarding than being told exactly where to go and what fly to use. Sometimes I got a weird look, other times I got a "thanks for nothing" look. I did give out more detailed advice, but that was mostly for salmon or steel headers just getting started. It was rare that anyone said that was a good idea. Call me crazy, but I really enjoy fishing new water. Don't get me wrong, there are two rivers that I will fish every year, but new water offers such a intoxicating buzz for me that I try and fish new water as often as I can.

While not every river I have explored turned out to be a gem, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have been lucky to hike into some of the most beautiful country, exploring different waters, and even found some good fishing. On one little river I explored, I hiked in about a mile before I found a pool that looked really good. It was a hot, sunny day and the hiking was difficult with all of the bushes and boulders. Most of the creek was wide, with shallow riffles no deeper than 3 or 4 inches, with very few holding lies. But that one really nice pool I found was so gorgeous, I had to take a swim, after I had caught a few nice cutthroats. I don't think I caught more than 5 fish that day, but I still am glad I was there. I may not go back, but now I know of a great swimming hole.

This last October my wife and I drove over to Tri-Cities via highway 12 around Mt Rainier and then over Chinook pass. I saw so many streams and rivers that I had to mark them on my map for future trips. I can't wait for the season to open as I am already dreaming of what I may find. Maybe I'll find my next "must go to stream," or something I may never return to. But again, I won't know till I get there and see for myself.

I feel lucky to have a good friend to go with me, as hiking alone in unfamiliar territory is not wise. Not everyone is willing to put forth so much effort with no guarantees of success. We have found some very beautiful places together and I will always remember being there with him. Beside the added safety of a companion, he also serves a witness when we do find something special, or for that big one.

Happy exploring! ~ Jeff Doerner (jeff98390j)

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