They are tiny bugs, but do they inspire.
Experiencing an insect hatch is centering.
You are there, looking, while a thing so natural is occurring, and you wonder if this phenomenon is really happening.
You stare to confirm what it is you are indeed seeing.
The hatch looks like popping popcorn — without the sound.
The water is flowing around you; suddenly little circles appear underneath, and you begin to recognize something that you wanted to happen, AND it is actually happening.
Now, we fly fishers have experienced fly hatches of varying sorts and degrees. The more you are on the water, the more you experience — pretty simple.
After all, we are FLY fishermen, right? (No gender stipulation here.)
I have pondered this often through my years of standing in flowing water, knee deep and question-filled:
“What should I tie on the end of my leader?”
“What flies should be hatching?”
“What fly will work?”
“What should I have for dinner?” But I digress. . .
Dinner or breakfast or lunch or snacks, it’s language to describe survival, really, and when you are in or “on” a trout stream, you literally are experiencing a feast — for the living creatures therein and around.
Trout, the object of our passion, thoughts, and obsession, are incredible opportunists.
Kind of like us, eh?
Anyone who has ever fished knows it.
If you grew up with a parent who taught you to fish, you probably started catching warm-water fish — “sunnies” (i.e., sunfish), bluegills, then bullheads, catfish, bass — and when the season started, cold-water trout.
You started by using live bait, worms and a bobber, but you moved on to spinners, i.e., “artificial lures.”
So, getting back to the incredible opportunists, when you cast a spinner in a deep run or pool, and to your surprise (expectation?) a trout mashes your artificial offering, you get excited and feel accomplishment.
Those who use flies can often see the trout they are pursuing actually feed.
For those of us who have caught a fish on a floating dry fly, there are few things as beautiful or exciting.
To watch your artificial creation float on the water and entice that living, beautiful creature to break its watery barrier and eat — an act of survival on its part — well, it’s pretty damn exciting, no matter how often you experience it.
For those who cast streamer flies (simply, flies that imitate mostly fish fry, minnows), the chase and take of a trout (or any fish) on that platform are memorable.
I’ve had the great fortune to catch many fish on a streamer, and to see the take is all the more special.
Fall is when trout just seem to get more aggressive, and streamer fishing can be so much more effective — and fun — this time of year.
I will tell you straight up that I have been blessed with many a day of fishing in the front of the boat casting a streamer.
Seeing a trout with its lightning speed come out of “nowhere” creates a living, interactive experience (memory) as it chases down and engulfs the streamer fly you stripping through the water.
Feeling that jolt, that connection with another living being — if you’ve experienced it, you know.
If you haven’t, well, there are wonderful things waiting for you in the watery world of expectation and trout.
Maybe I’ll see you on the water.