It’s The Little Things

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