Saturday, June 25, 2011

got some of my absolute favorite guests at the ranch currently. going to take em fishing tomorrow.

and net some fish for em!

floated the rio today, a good, long float, 7ish house. jesse had a rough day on the stick today. but that's good, makes me wanna fish again!
above, cousins tie on a new fly. i hope/trust these boys will be fishing together for a long time. glad i was a part of their fishing lives.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ugly casts catch fish too

ain't that the truth.

a week and a half of guiding under the belt. first week i had some familiar faces on the water - folks i took fishing last summer. the fishing was very good, lots of action subsurface and even a few takes on top. for six clients last week, i was able to net a fish on their last cast of the trip. nice!

we see a lot of rookies here on the ranch. sometimes it is hard to get them to hook fish and then even harder to get those fish to my net. what it is. ugly casts catch fish too and when i've got a client by my side and we're in the middle of a run, we will eventually get a good drift that will a fish will eat.

the first half of this week has been a slightly different story. we have a group of kids, aged 8 - 16, in for 3 full days of fishing. we had these kids last summer and they're great boys, but beginning anglers. it's been windy for a while and that doesn't help. i had one of my worst, catching wise, trips to date on sunday, where my only fish of the day was a 6" brookie on the last cast of the trip. yesterday afternoon's trip saw two fish in the net. this is frustrating and stressful because these kids just want to catch fish. and they don't hesitate to let me know that fact. and then as soon as the trip's over and all the guides rendez-vous with the boys back at the lodge, the first questions out of every boy's mouth is "how many did you get?" "i got X fish and they were Y inches!" i wish i could've written down some quotes from the creek the last few days.

"man this is frustrating."
"i NEED to catch a fish."
"so-and-so got so-many fish yesterday and i haven't caught one yet!

and then there's the never ending stream of questions.

"do you see one?"
"are you putting on a dry fly?"
"do fish eat actual flies?"
"how far can you cast?"
"how many fish do you catch?"
"can you take me to a good spot?"
"is this a good spot?"
"do you see one?"
"can we use a stonefly?"
"how big was that fish?"
"do you see one?"
"i would've had 6 fish if i hadn't lost those four."
"wait wait one more cast!"

and so on. i actually counted because i was curious and in one afternoon's trip i lost exactly 15 flies. with three kids of near-beginner status who all are so eager and excited to fish, it's easy to be convinced to let two go ahead and fish a hole by themselves while i stay with one. inevitably the other two return to my side in a matter of minutes either with no flies, a huge tangle or both. but, deep breath, that's guiding. i'm outside in a trout stream all day and that's a good thing.

netting fish for the most excited clients of the season is pretty good too.

meanwhile, good casts catch fish as well. the rio grande is fishing pretty good. been floating a fair amount and hitting some fish with big salmonflies, sized 2 or 4. les landed a 5 pound rainbow on a salmonfly on friday. very solid. we forgot the camera so we had a feeling we might see a big fish that day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

the eve

tonight is the eve of guided trips.
in preparation we've been doing a lot of what we describe to other staff as "stream research." i've seen and fished each and every of the 15 stations on Goose Creek, as well as the Lost Lakes, the three ponds on the ranch and our small, meandering stream, Walton. and caught fish in 'em all.
i've been thinking about tomorrow morning's trip pretty much since i left the ranch last october. office work this winter gave me ample time to think about this summer's trips and tomorrow they begin. i know some stations have a little more holding water in the current conditions, but part of me is an 'i don't give a shit' attitude about where i go or who i take. i know how to catch fish on this creek. i've seen this creek in flows from 300 CFS to 40 and i've caught on all the flows in between. i was telling Drew this earlier but before every trip i have extreme ups and down of excitement. right now excitement is high. i want to hit the creek hard, fish each hole hard and hammer fish.
but hammering fish has its own ups and downs. for us guides at the 4UR, it's not a great idea because we have to guide the same water all summer. it's not fun to guide a station in the afternoon that someone hammered the morning before. hammering fish is also a little unrealistic for rookie anglers. who would take away all the times they were learning to fish and got skunked? after all, it's called "fishing," not "catching." but, i am a fishing guide. i supposedly guide anglers to fish and guide those fish into my net. i am paid to do that. it's my job. why wouldn't i want to do it extremely well, and hammer fish. if my tip is $50 when my client lands a dozen fish or $0 when we land 1 or 2, why the hell wouldn't i want to put a dozen in the net?? but again, fishing is more than catching fish. it's casting. it's reading water. it's enjoying the outdoors, finding freedom in the water. i want my clients to have fun and i think that's the bottom line. sometimes the fishing absolutely sucks. even when it does, i have fun. maybe that's what i'll try to convey to my new anglers this summer, is just to enjoy their time on the water. i mean, who wouldn't?
it's always nice to feel a tug on that line and land a few though. i'll try to do a little of that as well.
even though i've been on the ranch for more than three weeks, the season and the summer starts tomorrow. all the guides are in my room right now and we're pumped. can't wait for that alarm to go off tomorrow morning. chances are i'll be awake before it goes off anyway.
got some familiar faces to see next month. looking forward to that a lot. i hope everyone's well!