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Home Waters

When we think of fishing locations, every one of us has a place that is special to us. No matter what time of year, what the weather is, or how many fish there are to catch, we think back to this particular place. The location does not have to be close to home, but rather, anywhere you have been that is constantly on your mind and in your heart. Some people may not have found this place yet, but when it happens, it is nothing short of magical.

During the offseason, we often think about the upcoming fly fishing year. We fantasize about the gear we want and the places we want to go. Most of the time, the year is just too short to fit in all of our trips, but there is always time made to spend on that special piece of water.

A lot of people making their first treks to this water body would agree with the beauty, but would likely call me crazy for loving the fishing there. Most people won’t even catch a cold on their maiden voyages there. Even my first few trips there were mediocre when it came to the fishing aspect, but it captured a different part of my angling senses. As I fished it more and more; however, it began to capture the fishing aspect for me as well. Maybe part of the reason that I love it so much is because of this. Every day, every month, and every season, there are constant changes to keep up with in order to continue learning the waters’ secrets. This constant challenge forces me to become better at fly fishing as a whole and think of the waters in an even larger picture.

When in this situation, one is almost forced to learn the history of the water body and the challenges it faces. You keep notes (mentally or on paper) for almost every moment you spend out there. Keeping track of how weather patterns affect the fishing, the timing of different species occupying the waters, and what flies were good at various times. You are constantly craving more information, though quite often, there is very little of the written variety. Of course, if any issues arise from outside factors, you will most likely take it personally and fight for your special piece of water. It becomes a part of you.

As for the fishing dimension of this home river of mine, it became better the more I got to understand the water body. Rainbow trout, bull trout, and rocky mountain whitefish are the standard quarry but their numbers and location change often. When a fish is landed though, it is likely to be a good size. Just hooking into something after the preparation and anticipation makes it even more satisfying though, regardless of the size.

I remember one day of exploring the river in August in the first couple of years. My brother Andy was along, and we were walking past what seemed like a stretch of river devoid of fish. I was rushing ahead to get past this “fishless” piece of water, when I heard Andy shout,

“Hey, get back here, a trout just rose!”

I spun around thinking he was seeing things, and the trout slowly came up again, breaking the tension of the flat, glass-calm water. Being the kind gentleman he is (I speak this way just in this instance of course), he let me have the first cast at it. With my 8’0” 4-weight rod in hand, I quickly tied on a #12 orange stimulator that I loved to fish in all streams at that time. Slowly making my way out in the water, I had to be careful as any little movement sent ripples across this part of the river.

Finally I was in position and started to strip line from the reel. I was trying to think ahead for the entire time, and the anticipation was building. With a few false casts and a nice presentation of the fly a few feet upstream of the rise, I was ready to go. The fly slowly drifted down, floating high and dry. You could hear the grasshoppers clicking in the overhanging grass, and the sun was beating down. As the fly drifted straight in line with me, about 40 feet away, the mouth of a rainbow trout broke the surface and sipped the dry fly down. The top of its head turned down, and I set the hook!

The battle was on! The fish ripped up the pool and had my reel screaming. The 4-weight rod bent over in almost an arch, and then the trout jumped. Four jumps later and a run downstream, and I finally had the fish under control. As I slid the crimson and golden coloured rainbow trout into the net, I was stunned. It measured just a hair over twenty inches, and had a girth that was unimaginable. After a couple of photos, I let the trout go back into the clean, clear waters.

Moments like that, were the beginning of an obsession with my “home waters” that continue to this day. There have been many memorable instances on that river that I will cherish until my time is up. Sharing these times with family and friends always puts a smile on my face as well. I think many fishermen will relate with what I said about these special pieces of water. If you are just getting into the sport, then I hope you will someday find your very own fly fishing haven. You will know when it happens because the passion you have for it, whether it be a lake or stream, is unexplainable.

Tim Tchir, WesternSportfishing.ca

Written by: Tim Tchir

Email: tim@westernsportfishing.ca