Column nr. 2, 2017
REALITY WAY OUT WEST
fishers who once lived the absolute ideal abundant fly waters
lifestyle living in the Western United States. Have had a first
hand look at the devastation a five year long drought has
caused! Generations of fly fishers living in California and
Nevada have had full creeks, raging rivers and in some years too
much rushing early spring waters. A serious warning severe
climate change is here to stay and may get much worse.
Cold hard evidence with
radical changes from Mexico to Alaska mean no debating what’s
going on right now... Fisheries have been devastated along with
Salmon runs and critical stream, creek, river habitat that will
take generations to recover if ever. Having spent all my life
roaming fly waters from Asia to Alaska. Watching my favorite fly
waters evaporate or become extinct has been a sad ride my
friends. Mighty rivers like the famed Feather River or any of
the majestic rivers winding through California and Nevada now
once again raging beyond belief! I estimate maybe two months
before they slow down enough to work effectively? Five drought
years demolished wild trout streams in many cases wiping out the
resident fish population completely. Now the hammer comes down
even harder as the relentless rain and snow this winter broke
the long drought. Before and after radical changes in so many
ways! Insect life once abundant lost will recover.
After taking a trip this
last week into upper California all rivers are running so high
flood stages are near for many. The fish habitat has been taking
a beating as accumulated brush, fallen tree limbs and stream
edges are erased.
It would please me
greatly to speculate this long drought ha ended. No one I have
spoken with has any idea, nor do scientists. As all of you
highly educated well read fly fishers understand. We are truly
on and in the front lines of this historic radical change in
weather behavior. That said, so how do we contend with and do
the best we can to enjoy this sport?
Putting on my Oracle Of
Delphi hat we have many choices in regard to mental attitude and
coping mechanisms. Water habitat lost is history. So lets get on
with the new reality of waiting for now rushing raging waters to
subside enough to work. Dry fly action will be especially tough.
But, late summer slow water will compensate for early season
If you have not
practiced working streamers at different depths and speeds? This
tried and true fast water set up is easy to learn and master.
Depending where you live usually local guides can give you tips
and samples of streamers that work best. If the edges of your
favorite fly waters are rich in fallen trees and brush a habitat
where common mice often dwell.
Working a mouse can be
highly successful if presented properly. Mice stimulate hard
hits that will thrill any fly fisher who has never learned how
to move a mouse so its tail creates a realistic wake. I highly
recommend learning mouse presentation a fine tool for any
accomplished fly fisher to master. Mice or streamer? Raging
early spring waters require extreme caution for all fly fishers
brave bold or timid...
When streams and rivers
run fast and deep more accidents are a sad fact. I have nearly
drowned several times in deep Alaska over the years. In those
moments it was not because of risky behavior. It was more
natural causes like slipping on slick rocks or not seeing shaky
river edges. Stupid mistakes that almost cost me the ranch when
I look back. On two occasions guides grabbed me before currents
and fast water took me under and away. I still recall falling in
and feeling my waders full and too heavy to move. Then looking
up and seeing muted Sun light as ii was rushed into deeper
possible fatal depths.
Hard lessons learned and
fear hard to explain being so helpless and feeling ignorant for
not being more careful. My most vivid memory under fast water is
the sight of my young guides hand and arm reaching down to save
my life. A sight never forgot my fly fisher friends.
RAGING WATERS SUCCESS
First safety has to be
number one consideration regardless of age or experience. Never
attempt working fast moving fly waters alone. It is suicide to
think you can always save yourself if tragedy rears its head.
Bring a partner even a non fly fishing partner. Use a flotation
vest and carry a location beeper if you can. Another good idea
is bringing rope along. If your fishing alone which I never
recommend tie your rope to sturdy tree before wading into quick
water. Always wear non slip wading boots of high quality. Never
venture into rapid currents stay in the slow water. If you’re a
seasoned nymph pattern being? You must use many applied bead
weights to get your rig close as possible to the bottom.
Your odds are greatest
near the bottom as fish rarely venture near the surface when
water is moving fast. They hide away to save energy. One
universal truth in regard to fly fishing that applies to fast or
slow water. Trout love the bottom or as close to bottom as
possible. Again surface dry fly action in early spring quick
waters almost impossible. Be careful.
Written by Dan
Fallon © 2017
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