December 2016 ~
Although it’s not quite winter yet it does seem to be the time of year that many of us think nostalgically about the past year’s fishing. So, with a Grand Marnier on ice in my hand and sitting by some glowing coals here are my reminiscences.
I’ll remember 2016 for the five-plus pound cutties we caught on the Upper Owens in May where one even took me in to my backing. Big brutish fish with attitudes, busting on egg patterns and filling nets from one end to the other describing a big U.
On the other end of the spectrum was the summer day spent on the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River catching little alpine trout on 2 weights with dry droppers. A great, knee deep wash of a gin clear stream where three friends can fish side by side by side for hours as fish literally jump on your flies.
Boating on Crowley Lake and heaving midges for a shot at a trophy, and never being disappointed even though this year it required fishing 20 foot leaders. Crowley is predictable (wind) and unpredictable (what she will give up), but she is always a joy, being the mirror of the Sierra.
And what would a fishing year be without at least one adventure. It was our fifth year fishing the Owyhee River in Oregon and it was stellar as ever.
When you are trying to shake off 16 inch browns because they are too small you know you have a delightful problem. But having 20 plus inch trout rising to #22 tricos is something that should not be missed.
But in the end spending time on the water with one’s friends is a blessing that can’t be quantified. Hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy 2017.”
“Tight lines.” – CVFF President, Scott Olson
November 2016 ~
“Fly fishing at times is a solitary sport…
and oft times that solitude can certainly be satisfying. Being outdoors by oneself and focusing on the task at hand encourages us to relax our minds and become introspective, and while I find this to be rewarding in many aspects, I much prefer to fish with friends.
Friends bring so much more to the fishing experience. It’s not just the process of sharing information (what fly should I use?) or techniques (should I use a roll cast here, bow and arrow cast?) it’s the camaraderie of bonding over a shared interest or for most of us a shared passion.
Congratulating one another on a well-played fish or on a nice hen brought to the net accentuates our fishing experience. Sometimes it’s just the comfort of standing knee deep in a river with a buddy to your left and right, casting in harmony and mending a line in rhythm that can make a trip well worthwhile. It is visceral and comforting.
So thank you to all my friends who have shared some river time with me. May we be blessed enough to continue our meanderings for many years to come.”
– CVFF President, Scott Olson
September 2016 ~
“It’s the little things . . .
So often when we are fly fishing we focus so much on stalking our prey that we forget about some of the small things that make our sport (diversion / passion / illness?) such a gratifying pastime.
It occurred to me recently while fishing Lyell Creek in Yosemite that there was so much occurring in the few square feet surrounding where I was standing that I needed to stop and take note of what I was passing by with each step of my wading boots.
In fishing one of the senses that we probably use the least is our hearing. Other than a noisy splash indicating an aggressively rising fish, we rarely listen intently to what is going on around us as we just don’t need sound to catch fish. I’ve found the best way to focus on sound is to stand still, close my eyes, and just listen. Even someone like me who is audibly challenged can be surprised at what they can hear. From the gurgle of a small waterfall to the swirl of water around ones legs. A gentle breeze in the conifers in concert with the myriad call of the birds, the slap of a beaver tail and even sometimes a falling tree (I’ve heard three). A subtle and soothing symphony for the most part.
Of course sight is probably the most important sense that we use while fishing. Looking for rising fish, identifying what insects are hatching, reading the water and looking for holding spots are all important skills that the fly fisher needs to hone to be successful. However, I find it just as enjoyable at times to sit down, take a break and just observe. To fish successfully takes a lot of intensity, focus and anticipation and too often we forget that part of the great joy of being in the outdoors is, well………the outdoors.
So take a break every once in a while. Sit and relax and just observe the great things that nature has to share. From damsel flies skimming the surface in search of a meal to mayflies and caddis dancing on the water and laying eggs to create the next generation. There are great blue herons, swallows, hawks, beaver, marmots, elk and so much else I’ve seen on my trips to the Sierra. Even a mountain lion once on the San Joaquin.
These are some of the desserts at the end of the fishing menu. I encourage you to savor them all.”
– CVFF President, Scott Olson