It doesn’t get much more awkward than walking towards the river all stealth-like, and falling down a mud slide on your rear. Oh wait… it does.
My new friend, Mia, was right behind me. She said she would just ‘sit and watch’ for a bit. After I gracefully ate it on the riverside, she went down stream and started reeling in fish like she was secretly shocking them. After a moment’s pause, I went to pull up my waders and re-gather myself; I found that there was mud caked on my buttocks area and it quite possibly appeared as if I had pooped me pants (that’s how pirates say they pooped their pants fyi).
I’m sure Mia went downstream to keep herself from laughing. I need to tell her I’m the kind of friend she can yell ‘you look like you pooped yourself’ to. I sat down in the water and swooshed it off with my hands when a car slowly rolled by. I waved.
I don’t know what it is, but when I get to the river after working all day, or being with kids all day, it takes me some time to get my bearings. I felt like a bear emerging from its winter cave. Like a spas, I switch from dries to nymphs to streamers to dries with every other cast almost. I spent the first hour just trying to remember how to mend the right direction. With the sun slowly fading, I knew I didn’t have much time to waste. I would see a fish slurp and start shaking with excitement; then switch to a dry fly then switch to a nympth. I have head problems. Must catch fish. No kids. Must catch fish.
I’m also very lazy at the end of the day. At one point one of my streamers shot out into the trees on a cast and Mia asked me what happened. I sort of geeked out and was like, ‘ya, i tied that onto a 5 x’. Her face looked like a reaction to someone really pooping their pants, because as a steelhead fisherwoman, that was ludicrous. She laughed with me though and still paused from her fishing to teach me. My brain wasn’t gathering all of the pieces it needed to be a fish predator. So there I was, in a hurry, in a daze, and extremely confused about what type of fisherwoman I was in the moment. Who am I? 😉
I just smiled like I had been smoking something. There were some hatches going on for sure, but I have a friend here who is the queen of steelhead fishing and no doubt knows how to work streamers better than anyone I have fished with before. Torn between learning or just doing what I know best, I choose to learn. A fish hits my streamer and I froze. I havent felt a grab like that since fishing egg sucking leaches for rainbows in Alaska. I freeze. I lose it. I still smile. Mia catches a nice brown (I think it was nice, I don’t know, I would have to ask his friends to be sure. But he looked nice):
Mia caught a bigger rainbow for these waters; which was so fun to see because some people don’t believe they are there. We high fived and I felt like I caught the rainbow. She let me hold it like it was a kitten someone brought to school. No she just wanted to get a picture of it, but I was still glad to hold a rainbow from this river.
Moments later, Im stripping a streamer down stream, (I think it was after I yelled to Mia, ‘you are a great stripper’, I was glad she laughed). We were fishing and something huge swam down underwater. It looked like a crocodile. I was trying to decide whether to cast to it or run for my life when the thing surged out of the water across the river. It was a beaver the size of a hefty kindergartener! I laughed as if I wasnt just terrified for a brief moment.
The dark was coming down the canyon quickly. I started to think of going back to what I was comfortable with, dries and nymphs, but was so stoked to have Mia there to watch and learn from. So I decided to stay on course with learning, knowing sometimes the fish are not the reward, the experience is the designation. I missed two more fish and threw my fly rod in the river. Not really, but don’t you hate it when people are like ‘I dont care if I catch anything’. What a crock.
Mia stops fishing so she can teach me (so nice) some of her tricks. I think that’s when I said that I normally catch a bunch of fish. I didn’t want her to think she needed to stop fishing for me or that I didn’t know how to do it. My head space was funky.
[Whom ever wrote that ‘Uptown Funk’ song, I hated you for a while because who wants to be on the river with that song in their head?!! I started stripping a streamer to the beat a few times. #firstworldproblems]
Get your head in the game, woman!!!
We called it a day right before it was too dark to wade back. Mia had spent all day in meetings trying to save the public lands and doing amazing conservation projects, of which we all benefit from. And I was equally exhausted from just making sandwiches and driving little people places.
Without a trout in the net, and after a couple LDRs (long distant releases..jkjk), I almost drove out the next day with my kids but my daughter ended up with chicken pox from her vaccine. I still almost went for it, thats how messed up my head gets.
Fortunately, I was able to spend a full day there yesterday, and feel a bit of redemption with some buttery brown trout company. I’m just a better person after a day on the river. No more of these short, two hour stints. It messes with my already messy brain. But sometimes its good to just chill and do something different. Allow yourself to be extremely awkward so you can grow. I dig that. Here is one of my catches from yesterday. On a yellow sally!
From redemption day yesterday: my friend, Rhonda, caught her first big fish on the fly. She felt awkward at first but her persistance paid off big time! Nothing like a newly addicted fly fisher woman!
You have to check out what Mia is doing and ways you can get involved in voting and educating your community on how to keep our public lands public, and help keep the precarious balance of man and nature in tact.
Read this wonderful thing Mia wrote about conservation efforts here: http://wadingroom.com/sportsmens-access-to-public-land/
One of her blogs: Metalheads Blog Spot (Click on red, Im not good with the techonology)
Also, if you want to book a steelhead trip with this fierce, friendly, fisherwoman, this is where you click: http://www.oregonsteelhead.com/
And last but not least: a river selfie….Finding new fish friends is the best! Be your weird selves people, and get out of your funky spaces, even if it means you look funny or you strip to Up Town Funk You Up songs (strip streamers, the other kind is just not healthy).
I TALK TO TROUT LIKE THEY ARE MY CHILDREN: