The Fly-Fishing Equivalent of Blashphemy

N. Metz

Active Member
I've kept this mostly to myself, only discussing it sometimes with my dad, who has been fly fishing for a long time.

Has anyone ever been "spoiled" in terms of fishing experiences/fish and because of that, they decline some fishing opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't or maybe even shouldn't?

For example, I grew up close to Seattle and fished for the salmonids in their native range. Not during the glory years but 2000's and 2010's. Minnesota (where I live) has salmon and steelhead coming off lake superior but it's different. A big coho is two pounds and the steelhead are hatchery fish from the PNW living outside their native range. They're some deformed SOB'S compared to a wild fish.

There's trout is small streams an hour or two away; they average about ten inches but a rare fish could be 18 or 20. The trout in the lakes of Washington/ BC that I grew up on average quite large. Particularly in BC. I don't turn up my nose at these smaller trout but they also don't get my blood pumping either.

Is this fuc#$% up on my part or is this just part of life? Anyone ever feel the need to adjust their attitude and be more grateful? Or is this change in viewpoint I describe just part of fishing and life? This came up because I was complaining/groveling about the lack of salmonids out here and realized that it wasn't really that. It was more that I just didn't appreciate the salmonids that are here.

Thanks,

Nick
 

Griswald

a.k.a. Griswald
Nick, I understand. But think about this...I spent 20 years going to the BWCA and Quetico and guided on those lakes when I was in College. I have caught some incredible Walleye, Lake Trout and Northern Pike-(only Northerns on the fly) additionally I caught alot of Bass on the fly. Different than Trout/Salmon but fun, widen the horizons, and take comfort knowing you are a strong enough angler (due to you growing up out here) to do really well with new types and species of fishing.
 

gt

Active Member
time marches on... i suggest you change your site pattern and start salt water fishing for big mean critters. you won't regret the change i can pretty much guarantee that from my personal experiences. fresh water fishing has deteriorated for any number of reasons all across this country.
 

N. Metz

Active Member
Nick, I understand. But think about this...I spent 20 years going to the BWCA and Quetico and guided on those lakes when I was in College. I have caught some incredible Walleye, Lake Trout and Northern Pike-(only Northerns on the fly) additionally I caught alot of Bass on the fly. Different than Trout/Salmon but fun, widen the horizons, and take comfort knowing you are a strong enough angler (due to you growing up out here) to do really well with new types and species of fishing.

I have fully embraced the bass/pike fishing out here and enjoy it a lot. It's a lot different that trout and salmon but I do love it. Ideally, I'd appreciate the trout and salmon that are available here a bit more but I guess it isn't anything to get hung up on.

GT, salt water fishing has deteriorated too. The last few years we went down to Loreto, all the dorado has disappeared and there weren't any damn sardina's left either. This world of ours. Sharks on a fly is something I have always wanted to do.
 

Swimmy

Well-Known Member
Anyone ever feel the need to adjust their attitude and be more grateful?

Bingo.

Not specific to fishing but we all get bummed, frustrated, angry, etc. That's completely natural. But I try to count my blessings every day which helps to stay positive. Maybe reframe your perspective.

Sure, the fish might not be as big but is there a cool hike that you can do to add to the experience? Maybe catch a sunrise on a canoe while fishing? There are plenty of other ways to provide stoke.

For example, this grayling was maybe 6"?

001(107).jpg


But I caught it after getting up early and catching one the prettiest sunrises I can remember.

DSC_3192.jpg


That was a killer morning and size of fish had nothing to do with it.

You might have to get creative but there is stoke to be had.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Kinda sounds like your in a funk. I've been there. Grew up in Seattle, then trips to the basin, then North Cascades, then Paysayten, then Wind Riiver, always had to be bigger, next challenge. If I didn't hate planes and boats I'm sure it would of been worse.
Maybe you need to find a spark, a bit of inspiration some where, to help you in a new direction.
I got tired of driving, and when I knew my grandkids were comming I really shifted gears. I wanted to find out everthing about what was avaliable close to home. It's been a blast. And they are just getting big enough to start sharing some of it.
It will pass, don't get too hung up. Continue to reach out and search around and you'll find what you desire.
 
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wetline dave

Active Member
There are stages a fly fisher goes through and flat spots happen. I think you are at one of those plateaus. We all have them.

Look to broaden your knowledge. It can be about the fish, the food sources, the habitat, rod making and any other facet. A person can spend a life time learning entomology.

There is a lot more to fishing than catching fish.

Dave
 

Greg Armstrong

WFF Supporter
As others have alluded to already, it’s a bit surprising to realize at a certain stage that it’s not all about the fish.

After inheriting a couple of bamboo fly rods, I immersed myself in learning more about the fascinating traditions and history of this sport. I learned that catching fish on 100 year old rods and reels is not only possible, but is an absolute blast! It rekindled my interest.

A good starting point to learn about this stuff would be a book by AJ Campbell, “Classic and Antique Fly Tackle”.
 

D3Smartie

Active Member
It's all about perspective. Keep chasing the high and you'll be let down eventually.
I'm certainly with you on certain fisheries. So I just don't partake in them and spend my time focused elsewhere.
 

herkileez

WFF Supporter
When steelheading was strong on the west coast, many fishers, myself included, would turn their nose up at fishing for pinks. I had coffee with fishing buddies yesterday, and we agreed that, nowadays, we are looking forward to the arrival of pinks. Fishers will target what there is in their area, from carp in muddy ponds, to shiners in a creek. We adjust our target to what is available..It's that, or stay home and not fish.
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
The way it was explained to me back in the 70's by my fly fishing dentist was: Eastern Wa will spoil you for fishing Western Wa and BC will spoil you for fishing Eastern Wa. He was correct.

These days I'm happy to "return to my roots" and fish for whatever fish and whatever method pleases me. Last Monday's trip was at a local lake for kokanee pulling pop gear and a 2 ounce sinker. I will say I immediately remembered why I didn't care for that method.
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
I have been fly fishing for 70 years now and have seen some big changes. Back when I started fly fishermen were depicted as humorous eccentrics in hip boots, a vest, a pork-pie hat with dozens on flies on it, carrying a bamboo rod and smoking a pipe. Fast forward 7 decades and that guy now is wearing $700 zip fly waders, a sling pack, a buff, long billed cap and wrap around shades, sporting a $900 rod and a $450 reel and sipping energy drinks.

Also in those years fish stocks have diminished, vastly more water has become privatized, lake levels are lower with some weeding over and filling in completely and fish sizes have declined steadily. Crowding and over fishing and harvest have taken a huge toll on the resource-not to mention the quality of the experience. At first blush it would appear that all is lost but the reality is that much is lost but not all. Just here in Washington alone there are 8,000 lakes, many of which never see a fly fisherman. Many won't hold decent fish of course but significant numbers do and to discover one of these hidden gems is a treat. The guys that concentrate and overpopulate the name brand lakes won't bother with these so some real opportunities exist for those willing to do a little research and detective work.

Being able to adopt to one's environment has made mankind the dominant species on this planet so as a fly fisher draw on some of that heritage and look for opportunities where you were not looking before. In our short lifetimes we only have so many chances to experience things and we have to take advantage of those chances. Back in my drag racing days we used to say: "Run what you brung!" and not whine if someone brought something better. The same with fishing these days-it may no longer be the greatest but it is vastly better than watching TV.

Just this week I had my first serious Tenkara outing fishing a small gin clear ice cold stream for native Westslopes. I was up in the mountains away from any people with the stream all to myself. It was an absolute blast and one of the most enjoyable fishing days in years. Run what you brung-if it is fishing for small fish in a tiny stream with a flimsy fly rod-so be it. Embrace the right-now and don't lament the past, we can't bring it back.
 

Driftless Dan

Driftless Dan
WFF Supporter
I'm not sure where in MN you live, but the SE corner of that state is in The Driftless Area, and trout fishing is great there.
 

NRC

WFF Supporter
As others have alluded to already, it’s a bit surprising to realize at a certain stage that it’s not all about the fish.

After inheriting a couple of bamboo fly rods, I immersed myself in learning more about the fascinating traditions and history of this sport. I learned that catching fish on 100 year old rods and reels is not only possible, but is an absolute blast! It rekindled my interest.

A good starting point to learn about this stuff would be a book by AJ Campbell, “Classic and Antique Fly Tackle”.
This is a great mentality. I’m reading through Ian Whitelaw’s History of fly fishing in fifty flies and find it similarly stimulating to look at the old school patterns and think about where in WA I’d like to fish them (on that note, I’ve been enjoying the classic spider patterns you’re catching stuff on lately, @MGTom ).

While many of the changes to the natural world over the last century are depressing, focusing on the changes in gear and tactics rather than the changes in fish size and prevalence provides a way of engaging with the history of the sport without thinking too much about what has been lost.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
I have been fly fishing for 70 years now and have seen some big changes. Back when I started fly fishermen were depicted as humorous eccentrics in hip boots, a vest, a pork-pie hat with dozens on flies on it, carrying a bamboo rod and smoking a pipe. Fast forward 7 decades and that guy now is wearing $700 zip fly waders, a sling pack, a buff, long billed cap and wrap around shades, sporting a $900 rod and a $450 reel and sipping energy drinks.

Also in those years fish stocks have diminished, vastly more water has become privatized, lake levels are lower with some weeding over and filling in completely and fish sizes have declined steadily. Crowding and over fishing and harvest have taken a huge toll on the resource-not to mention the quality of the experience. At first blush it would appear that all is lost but the reality is that much is lost but not all. Just here in Washington alone there are 8,000 lakes, many of which never see a fly fisherman. Many won't hold decent fish of course but significant numbers do and to discover one of these hidden gems is a treat. The guys that concentrate and overpopulate the name brand lakes won't bother with these so some real opportunities exist for those willing to do a little research and detective work.

Being able to adopt to one's environment has made mankind the dominant species on this planet so as a fly fisher draw on some of that heritage and look for opportunities where you were not looking before. In our short lifetimes we only have so many chances to experience things and we have to take advantage of those chances. Back in my drag racing days we used to say: "Run what you brung!" and not whine if someone brought something better. The same with fishing these days-it may no longer be the greatest but it is vastly better than watching TV.

Just this week I had my first serious Tenkara outing fishing a small gin clear ice cold stream for native Westslopes. I was up in the mountains away from any people with the stream all to myself. It was an absolute blast and one of the most enjoyable fishing days in years. Run what you brung-if it is fishing for small fish in a tiny stream with a flimsy fly rod-so be it. Embrace the right-now and don't lament the past, we can't bring it back.

You forgot about the drones, go pros, and fill production equipment.. It's my goal to see the last wild steelhead caught and handled on film. It will be like the last Tasmanian Tiger. A creature in a cage only existing in some grainy film until it's no more.

#hastagthelaststeelhead
#conservation
 

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