Saturday morning I decided to go to the workshop for the soul on the river Blue. The prairie schooner sailed under a grey billowy sky, a sky undulating with pewter colored pillows accented with soft white edges. It was a completely overcast sky and usually I associate this with a good fly fishing day - at least that was my hope.
However, after an hour of arriving at the river, the overcast sky had give way to the sun, and a near bluebird day. I think the sun breaking through was somehow symbolic since it shed light on the fact that I'd been in the river for an hour and hadn't even felt so much as a bump on the fly.
Though I come to the workshop, that place of relaxation and reflection, it looked like the workshop was going to turn into a place of work. Indeed it would, and at the end of the outing I knew I had worked for each trout that I battled.
Probably most of us don't mind having to work in catching fish. I sometimes expect it and think it's a good thing. Having to work for trout reminds us of how quickly these pretty little fish can serve up a healthy slice of humble pie topped with a little extra humility. Eating humble pie is sometimes a good thing.
When we get into a situation where the fish are hard to come by we must be true believers. In keeping the faith, the trout will likely, more than not, come to us eventually. Saturday is a perfect illustration of this. Six of the nine trout I captured came in the last thirty minutes of fishing as I was working my way back downstream having made the decision to pack it up.
Yes, the fishing was slow and it seems there are few trout compared to weeks past. I fished with three other anglers I didn't know. We fished the same stretches of water the entire time. Two of the anglers were fly fishermen and the third was armed with a spinning rod. At the end of their outing they had only managed three trout amongst them. That's pretty slow.
Fishing wasn't the only thing slow. Interest in being on the river was really off also. Very few people on the river Saturday morning and I estimate the crowd was maybe thirty percent of what it usually is. That surprised me because the talk on the river has been the expected arrival of the Missouri trout and that usually means larger trout. But, I don't think that happened this week and I'm not for sure it's going to happen at all since the wildlife department is mixing the sizes this season. Time will tell us for sure, but all nine of the trout I battled were eight inch fish.
I took a new pattern with me Saturday in hopes it would be a producing fly. I did fish it for about twenty minutes, but it drew no interest from the trout. I don't think this initial try was indicative of what the fly can possibly do, so another shot will be made. The fly has a very sparse marabou tail with a couple strands of peacock colored flash. The body is what is different. I took gray bug fur and blended it with silver flash dubbing making a sparkle dub. The fly was finished with a partridge soft hackle. Haven't given it a name yet and if it fails on the next outing I'll name it Back To The Drawing Board, and if it works like I hope it will, then it will be named Second To None. Wishful thinking, huh?
All nine trout battled on Saturday were called out by the olive Woolly Bugger. What was interesting though, is the trout didn't want it on a strip and they didn't really want it on a drift. And speaking of drift... the flow is so slow it gives a brand new meaning to the phrase "dead drift". I finally tied the bugger under an indicator and cast it upstream. After letting it sit and drift for twenty or so seconds, I would give it a twitch. Usually on the third of fourth twitch, the strike would come.
Giving thanks, I left the river a half hour before noon with the after-taste of humble pie in my mouth.
Oh, speaking of Humble Pie, here's a little of their music from 1971.