Sunday, April 23, 2017

That First Childhood Fishing Trip

I was throwing rocks into the water beneath the hot springs infused, travertine encrusted terraces along the Bighorn River in Thermopolis, Wyoming, when my step-father called me over.  He handed my his fishing pole that he'd rigged up with worm and sinker.  Immediately my little hands felt the tremendous tug from the unseen fish holding in the deep water.

Brad circa 1986??
Eyes wide and mouth agape, I stood there unsure what to do.  Without hesitation my step-father told me to use the reel.  Following his instructions I was rewarded with renewed resistance from the fish at the other end.  Time stopped in those next few moments as I fought to land my first fish.

A squeal of childish delight ripped across the rushing waters of the Bighorn River as the fish, closing in on shore, rolled to dive towards deeper water.  Its tail slapped the surface surprising me and sending a beautiful shower of droplets in all directions.  My wonderment was only increased when we brought the beautiful rainbow trout to hand.  Even after placing the fish in the creel to take home for dinner, I continued to sneak peaks at it, amazed at its size, colors, and general... fishiness.  That was the day I became hooked on fishing.


Do you remember your first fishing trip?  What about the pole?  Tackle and bait?  Surely the location is forever burned into your memory?

Share your first fish story in the comments section below, there are few fish tales better than these.

Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Conservation Angler

Today my Fly Fishing and Conservation blog becomes The Conservation Angler.  You may have noticed over the course of the last few years my writings on this blog have spanned a number of topics that, while tentatively relating to either fly fishing or conservation, have done so only in the thinnest of fashion.  I've found that keeping my posts specifically tied to either fly fishing or conservation stifling, and many times I've jettisoned the theme altogether.

Re-titling the blog as The Conservation Angler provides me a much wider latitude for writing about the issues that I find important or germane to both the sport of fly fishing and conservation at their broadest.  Already in previous blog posts I've covered topics that include pollution, climate change, wolf conservation, public land management, and public access to public lands.  Relaunching the blog with the new title will free me to engage a broader array of topics without working to tie them back to the themes of fly fishing or conservation specifically (something which at times I've already abandoned, but not without a sense of consternation).



So with no further wasted words, welcome to The Conservation Angler blog!  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wedding of the Waters, Bighorn River, Wyoming

My guides for the day warned me that the water was running high, but so were my spirits so I paid it no mind.  This was going to be my first float of the Bighorn River and I wasn't going to let the prospect of high water ruin the day.

My two guides had over forty years of experience on the Bighorn River between the two of them;  launching from the boat-ramp at the Wedding of the Waters near Thermopolis, Wyoming, both were already schooling me on how to fish the river before the boat was even in the water.  This would be "chuck-n-duck" fly fishing they told me.  A double-fly rig with lots of weight, even more than usual they noted, as the river that had been running at around 900 cfs had nearly doubled to 2000 cfs a few days earlier.

The Bighorn River was running crystal clear even though the water was high.  Hardly a cloud in the sky marred the day as we spent eight hours on the water floating, wading, and fishing.  Even for a first outing of the season the day pushed my fly fishing skills to the limit.  I had never cast a rig with so much weight and I quickly found that my 5/6 weight rod was not particularly well suited to it. I was tangled far more than usual, often as a result of equal parts poor casting as from misreading the loading of my rod.

My two guides, gentlemen that I work with, proved themselves of the highest character as they switched between rowing, fishing, and untangling or helping me re-rig all day long.  Of course, good-natured ribbing was in order as I allowed my wrist to break on the first cast of a new rig and immediately ensnared the tip of the rod with line, leader, and tippet.  And this was only one of many, many snarls over the course of our eight hours together on the water.  I tell you, they were indeed men of the highest character.

The high flows pushed the trout out of their typical holes to pod up in areas of soft water.  They also seemed far more interested in the small scud imitations tied below our larger hares ear or pheasant tails.  In the end we brought six fish to net between the three of us with yours truly bringing a single brightly colored rainbow to net, which was all I needed to be completely content with the day's outcome.

Eight hours of fighting through tangles and snarls of almost all my own making was completely worth it for that one beautiful rainbow trout on a perfect mid-March day on the Bighorn River.  And for those entire eight hours I didn't take a single picture- it really was a good day!

Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing