Monday, November 10, 2014

7th Grade Fly Fishing Class

"Don't you wish you had the opportunity to take a fly fishing class when you were in seventh grade?" John Wolter, the owner of Anglers Fly Shop and my boss, asked me while we were tying flies in the shop.
"Heck yeah!" I said without hesitation.
"Well Nick's [John's son] school asked if I would be involved in a fly fishing class!" John said, enthusiastically.  He stood there looking at me with a simple smile on his face, waiting for my response. 
"Sounds fun." I said back to him.
"Yep..." He said, with the same happy smile. "And you know what else...?"
"I get to help?" I said... then quickly changed my tune. "I mean...  I GET TO HELP!!!"
"All riiiiiight!  I knew you would be thrilled!" John said, and before we knew it, twelve seventh graders were gearing up to try their luck on the Boise River.
 

Parents and a few ladies from the Woman Fly Fishers of Idaho club were there to help, and as soon as John recognized that all kids were present, he called out to the class.
"Okay guys, follow me." Every volunteer and student made their way across the water for a quick instruction.


In a short amount of time, John covered water loading and line control for nymphing, then released us in small groups to fish. 


Naomi, Kai, and Preston were the students in my group. Connie, from the woman's club, and Naomi's father were also there to help. We split the students up so that they were close by, yet far enough away from each other to avoid any entanglements.


The two boys looked like they had fly fished before, so I focused my attention on Naomi. As soon as she understood how to bend her line properly, her indicator darted under the water and zigzagged with a fish! 
"Set it!" I said quickly, but it was too late: the indicator popped back up, lifeless. 
"You need to set the hook when your indicator goes down, sweetie." Her dad said. 
"I don't know what that means." Naomi protested. 
"It means you need to pull back on your fly rod," I said. "That way you hook the fish. What if I said 'pull back'; would that help?" I asked. 
"Yes." Naomi said. 
"Then get your fly back out there. That fish is still hungry." I said to Naomi, but she was way ahead of me. Naomi made a few more casts before her indicator shot under again.
"Pull back!" I said, but it was not needed. Naomi's little arms shot skyward, and the tip of her rod danced with a fish!
"A fish! A fish!" She yelled ecstatically. Her trout shimmered with every tug as I unhooked my net and scooped it up to land the fish. Naomi's father beamed with pride after seeing his daughter's face light up. After all, this was the very first fish she had ever caught, and it was on a fly rod.


Naomi gently placed the fish back into the water, and it slipped from her fingers to return home. 
"Nice job!" I said to her, as her fish disappeared into the river. From there, Naomi and her father went back to fishing while I walked up to help Kai.  


After I quickly adjusted his casting, I heard a scream from downstream. 
"I got another one!" The little voice hollered. I looked down and saw that Naomi had on another fish.  Her father was right by her side while I rushed to net her fish.  
"It's a white fish!" I said, with a smile. 
"Is that good?" Naomi asked. 
"It's a new species for you!" I said back. Getting a new species on a fly rod is a big deal, especially for Naomi, whose excitement was captured on camera!


Naomi once again placed her fish back into the water, and watched as it swam away and out of sight.  Further downstream I heard Connie yell out that Preston had a fish on.  I quickly made my way down to him and netted his fish. 
"It's not exactly the biggest fish in the world..." I said, but was cut off.
"That's a nice fish. You be quiet, Erik!" Connie snapped, as I netted Preston's fish. Thankfully, his fish was big enough to stay in my net, but hey, a fish is a fish, and Preston was happy!


In the blink of an eye, Preston's fish was gone, and I made my way back up to Kai. 
"You know..." I said to Kai, quietly. "You are the only one who hasn't caught a fish yet." Kai just looked up at me and shook his head. I stood near him, offering up advice as he fished. His indicator went under, and Kai didn't react fast enough. 
"Ohhhh, that was a fish, Kai." I said, and Kai had seen it too: his indicator had not only shot under, but jerked upstream before coming back to the surface. I could tell that he was getting frustrated at not having caught a fish yet, so we moved a little downstream.  Another cast, and Kai's indicator shot down! THWACK!!! Was the sound that protruded from the indicator after Kai set the hook faster than Bruce Lee!  An orange indicator with a hook attached was the last thing I saw hurling towards my face before I turned away.
"Sorry." Kai said, gathering his fly line.
"It's okay, you did what I would have done." I said back. "The fish is still there. Get it!" I encouraged.  Kai pitched out his line, and his indicator shot down.  This time when he set the hook, there was a fish attached.

Kai was all smiles for his picture.  He had just caught a respectable rainbow trout, and the other students around watched as his fish returned home.

Only a moment before Kai had caught his fish, John sent Brennan, another student, up to me from downstream.  It was already quite the task getting the three of my assigned student into a fish, but I welcomed the added challenge. Brennan had yet to catch a fish, and today was hopefully his day.  The only problem was... my alarm went off, indicating that we only had five minutes before it was time to go. 
"Five minutes everyone!" I called out to the group, then looked at Brennan. "Let's get a fish!"  Brennan didn't waste any time, and we got to a spot on the water that hadn't been fished yet.  As we waded out Brennan fished, and as we waded further out, he went to cast and had a fish on.  But with the sudden surprise of a fish, there was little time to react.  The trout that was hooked flew out of the water, spitting the hook in the process.
"Oh no!" Brennan yelled, knowing he lost his opportunity to bring in a fish.
"Come on, come on... we only have a few minutes." I said, regaining Brennan's focus from the lost fish.  The frustration of losing a fish was still on Brennan's face as he casted and casted with no sign of another. My alarm went off again, and I quickly silenced it.  The group of kids and helpers were now waiting and watching from the bank as we remained out in the river, trying our hardest to catch a fish. Then it happened: Brennan made a beautiful cast, sending his indictor and fly right where it needed to be.
"Positive fish vibes!" I said, raising my hand towards the indicator as it floated downstream. Whether it was his good cast, or the positive fish vibes, Brennan's indicator shot under and he set the hook!
"YOU GOT ONE!" I yelled.  Brennan's face lit up like it was Christmas morning as his rainbow trout flew out of the water! One, two, three jumps from the fish, and all I could think was that it was going to spit the hook.  I quickly brought out my net and Brennan lifted the head of the trout so that I could net it. Cheers erupted from the group as we headed to the bank to take a picture of the biggest trout of the day!



"There it goes, back home to its family" Connie said, before we got out of the river and walked back to meet up with the rest of the class.  Each student in our group was happy to share their fish story with the rest of the class, and every experience was told in full detail as other envious students came close to hear the stories. 
"So, you got them all into a fish." John said, smiling at me over a few students.
"You know what this means, right?" John asked, as he approached. "This means they will expect you to get them all into a fish next week!" John said, while patting me on the shoulder. 
"Well, I would hate to disappoint." I said, smiling back, ending a fun day with the Anser Charter School's seventh grade fly fishing class.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

600 CFS

As luck would have it, the South Fork of the Boise was flowing at 600 CFS when my brother Kris, aka Feef, came to town. At those flows, the river can offer up some of its best dry fly fishing opportunities. 


"Oh, this is going to be a gooood day, Brother!" Feef said, charged at the first sight of the river. "I'm going to catch all my fish on a streamer today!" He announced, as we scoped out the river. We both geared up quickly, and I took the lead walking through the brush. 
"Hold on!" Feef called out, as he turned back to get his line untangled from a low branch. I let out a very loud and heavy sigh as Feef continued to fight with the branch. 
"Get! Off! There!" Feef yelled at the fly line, giving a tug with every syllable. 
"I'm just going to leave you here..." I said, snob-ishly.  Feef started laughing as he fought harder to free his fly line. I brought out my camera to snap a picture, but right then his line came free and he quickly turned and posed. 


 
Feef started with his streamer and I found some nice pocket water for a dry fly.  600 CFS has always paid off for me, but today was testing that winning streak. For hours I walked upstream, casting a dry fly with no success. Feef was blasting his streamer in every nook that looked liked the home of a fish, but he was also coming up empty handed. 


"What are you doing?" Feef asked, as I snipped my dry fly leader down to six feet.
"I'm setting up a Euro-nymphing leader." I said back, while holding line in my mouth. I brought out my slinky and attached it to my leader, then built the rest of the leader with 3X and 4X tippet. 
"I know there is a fish right here," I said, tying on a stonefly nymph. "And I'm going to get it!"
I flicked my flies upstream, aggressively, and kept my slinky taught as I led my flies downstream.  The orange slinky stretched, indicating a fish, and I reacted just as quick!
"Nice, Brother!" Feef said, as I fought my fish into my net. 


"Want me to rig you up?" I asked, but Feef shook his head no: he was hell-bent on streamer fishing.  I flicked my flies back into the water, and got another take.  The hook set alone sent this little fish flying out of the water.



"What are you doing eating a fly this big?" I asked the fish before I unhooked it. 
"Okay, that's your lesson for today." I said, before I dipped the little fish back into the water and it shot away. 

It was no more that two or three casts later before I was into another fish. 
"Already?" Feef yelled, begrudgingly. 
"How long would you like it to take?" I asked, bringing in the fish.  I quickly let it go, and could see that Feef was interested in trying something other than streamer fishing. 


With no fish on his streamer thus-far, Feef handed over his fly rod for it to be rigged up Euro-style.  Feef took the lead as we worked the water upstream. 


"I'm just cleaning up your mess here!" I said, after I set the hook on a fish. Feef took one glance at me, then went back to fishing.  I quickly let the fish go and followed him upstream. The very next rock (that Feef had just fished), I stuck another fish... 
"Seriously?! Seriously?!" Feef yelled, angry at the river. 
"Sorry, Brother." I said, as I netted my fish.


"How are you getting them?" Feef asked.   
"The trout are close to the bank; just look for a deeper channel or behind a rock." I said.  Feef didn't waste any time getting closer. He flung his flies closer and closer into some pocket water, but on his third attempt, he misjudged his cast, sending his flies and slinky into some low hanging branches.  
"I don't think the fish are that close, Brother." I said with a smile. 


There was no saving his rig; Feef had managed to get both flies so tangled that we had to cut everything free. 
"Screw this!" Feef yelled, shoving his slinky into his vest pocket, "I'm going back to streamer fishing." 
 
We both continued upstream, and with every fish I caught, Feef became more and more frustrated. 
"I just want a FISH!" Feef yelled, screaming at the river. 
"Well that's nice, Brother... but first, can you take a picture of me and my fish?" 
"Give me your stupid camera." Feef said, stomping over to me.  I handed my camera to him saying, "Make it a good one, Brother."


I dipped my fish back into the water, and as it swam away, my alarm went off. 
"No, no, no..." My brother exclaimed. I too was a bit surprised. It did not feel like we had spent so much time on the water, but after looking at the time we had to get going.
I made my way to the bank and when I looked back, Feef was still in the river. 
"We better get going." I said to him, but Feef hardly acknowledged me.
"Just a few more casts." He said, hungry for a fish.  His white streamer went flying into a pocket above a large rock, and with one big strip, a fish took! 
"OH!" Was all Feef could manage, as his rod bent with the weight of a fish!  Laughter filled the river as Feef's fish splashed around.   
"Brother, don't lose it!" I yelled, adding to the pressure. The intensity on Feef's face as he brought his fish in was unmistakable: he was NOT going to lose this fish. A quick scoop with his net, and the fight was over.  I had my camera ready as Feef pulled his fish out of the net and held up his prize!


"Alright, now a good picture." I said, as Feef put his fish back in his net and underwater before taking it back out again for a better picture. 

Feef slowly put the fish back into the water, and it darted away, happy to be alive.  Feef let out a happy Aaaaahhh as he stood back up. He then looked over at me, smiling. 
"Okay, I'm ready now." He said, and we started our walk back to the car. Feef relived his fight with the fish, telling me every detail of the strike and fight. 
"Well, you were right about one thing." I said to him as we shut our gear in the back of the car. 
"What?" He asked. 
"You caught all your fish on a streamer today." I said with a smile.  Feef looked over at me, his initial smile faded... "That's messed up, Brother."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Louie Lake Club Outing


The Boise Valley Fly Fisher's (BVFF) organization  hosts a fly fishing event every month, and this month's extravaganza was hosted by yours truly.  I have always wanted to go on an alpine lake hike with the club, because it is the best way to meet new people in the fly fishing community. A quick phone call to ask McCall's alpine lake aficionado, Mike McLean, if he could help out on the outing would seal the deal.  Mike agreed to help and lead everyone up the trail on the day of the event.



There were fourteen of us all together, with some never having walked up to an alpine lake before. Tom, a member of BVFF, was no rookie when it came to alpine lakes. His light-weight float tube fit nicely on his back, which ended up working out to his benefit on the water.  

The first obstacle on the path was a small bridge made of tied-up deadfall.  I stood aside with my camera ready just in case someone fell in... sadly, no one did. 


The fall is a great time to walk up to an alpine lake.  The leaves are turning colors and there are little to no biting bugs this time of year.  


The Louie Lake hike is considered a moderate hike, due to the distance and the steep hills on the way. I, however, had lied and told members that his would be an easy hike, no longer than a mile and a half.  I figured if I told the truth, less people would show up.  One gentleman I came across called me out after a mile uphill, stating, "Erik, we need to have a talk about what you would call easy." Despite the slight miscommunication, the view of the lake, paired with the smell of fresh water and evergreens, made the hike worth it.

While everyone headed left on the bank of Louie Lake, I headed right to selfishly fish my favorite section of the lake... alone.  Laughter echoed across the lake as members of the club put their gear together. A part of me wished I was over there to enjoy the conversation, then a fish rose. Like a cat watching a laser beam, I watched the fish as it swam the shore.  My fly of choice was a pico ant, which I sent flying out to the fish.  Without delay, the fish came up and ate it!



Judging by the bronze flashes as the fish fought, I had a cutthroat trout on.  I brought in the fish and as it got within arms length it spit the hook.  The fish sat leisurely as I scrambled to grab my camera.  I was able to get a shot of it as it casually swam back into the lake.


The pico ant seemed to be the fly to have.  Another choosy fish was coming up to eat on the surface, and it took me a while to figure out its feeding pattern.  Once I felt confident enough to predict where it was going to surface next, I laid out my fly. 
"Come on, fish." I whispered to myself, and a moment later it smacked my pico ant!
"HA!" I yelled, setting the hook and bringing in a nice, shiny cutthroat.

My fish hadn't even bolted away before I found my next target. The new fish's gulping pattern was moving further and further away from me out into the lake.  It was too far to cast by the time I had got into a good casting position and, as if the fish knew, it stopped rising as soon as I was ready to cast.  With nothing to aim for, I decided to try my luck, and cast out my fly.  The pico ant sat on the water for a long time, untouched. I gave it a few twitches, and a fish came up and nailed it.  Whether or not it was the same fish I had casted to a moment ago didn't matter; after all, it was still a fish.


The fish darted away, and I couldn't help but chuckle as I looked up: there were three float tubes on the water, and a bank full of club members rock hopping along the bank and casting to fish.  I couldn't help feel a little bad for the other anglers that made the hike up to avoid people.  The thought of spotting the fourteen of us walking over the ridge, into sight, made me chuckle. 


Half the day was over, and I could see others who had the same idea as me: to walk the entire lake.  The fish at my section of the lake were starting to wizen up and refuse my fly at the last second.  However, if I continued to fish for them, they would eventually take.

Two other members of VBFF, Tom and Erin Labrecque, were within ear shot of me now, and my wife Gracy was not far behind. I walked over to meet them and found that Kiwi was the most excited to see me.


Both Tom and Erin were fishing as they walked over.
"I got one!" Tom yelled, as his rod bent with every tug of the fish. He called for his wife, Erin, to come and take a picture, but Erin was fishing and didn't want to stop.  Tom had brought in his fish, and in the time he was fighting it, I had bolted over to get a picture.



"It's about time you made it over here." I said, "But you are too late, I have already caught all the fish."  Both Tom and Erin smiled, then Tom said, "Oh, Erik... you are still as modest as I remember." Erin had yet to hook into a fish, so I grabbed her leader and tied on a Pico ant. 
"There you go, no excuses now." I said.
"There, do you see it?" I said quickly, pointing out a fish.
"Yeah!" Erin said back, and I quickly got out of the way so she could cast. The fish refused her fly the first time, but then came back and ate it. 
"Fish on!" Erin yelled. I was quickly there with the camera.
"Look at that stance!" I said, and took a picture of Erin bringing in her fish.

She brought a cutthroat trout into the net, but before we could get a hero shot the fish flopped out and back into the water. 
"Well, at least you can say you got a fish today." I said, before we continued to walk the banks of the lake.  I met up with my wife, and as we sat a fish rose.  She had her fishing license, but was not interested in fishing for the rising trout.  I did offer it to her first before I got up to make a cast.
"Sit here, Woman, and watch year man catch a fish." I said, in my best hillbilly voice. She shot me an dissatisfied look, as I smiled back at her, then caught a fish. 


I thought I had spotted long time BVFF member and good friend, Larry Donahue, from across the lake.  I quickly made my way over, where he was perched on a large rock, to fish with him. 


I don't get to fish with Larry very often, so I was sure to make the effort to find him.  I discovered that this was Larry's first time to Louie Lake, which made me happy I committed to hosting the outing. 
It was getting late, and we all had to get going if we wanted to get back to Boise at a decent hour.  I did catch one more fish as I quickly walked back to meet with the rest of the members. 


Our group of 14 whittled down to 7 as the day went on, and together Gracy got a shot of the members who stuck it out to the bitter end.   

I was asked if I was going to host another alpine lake trip for next year by some members who couldn't make this trip.  With Mike McLean as our leader, I believe another trip will be in our future, I assured.  Until next year... 

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Next Day at Rocky Ford Creek

A looming time restriction is the worst thing to bring with you when fly fishing, but without it I would not have been able to fish this day. 

As I walked the bank, looking for an opening in the cattails, a rising fish caught my eye.  The fish was an arm's length away from the shore, so when I saw it rise, I froze.  A few side steps ensured I was not visible to the fish, then I slowly walked downstream so that I could approach the fish from behind.  The fish rose again and again, reassuring that it hadn't spotted me.  Tricos were fluttering all around, and when the fish didn't even care to take a closer look at any of my patterns I had presented, I stopped and watched to see if I could determine what the fish was eating.

 
Tying on a pico ant had crossed my mind, but I would be a fool not to be a little more patient before I changed my fly. The patience paid off: after a few more seconds, a small grey bug came floating down and the fish swam about two feet over to eat it.  Callibaetis, I though, and dug out my mayfly box to select and tie one on.
 
My callibaetis hit the water like a feather and was floating right near the fish.  A slow movement from the fish was all it needed as it came up to my fly.  I held my breath as the fish moved in slow motion: 10 inches, 5 inches, and now 1 inch from my fly... and then I received the most visual refusal I have ever seen. The fish's head turned away from my fly so quickly, a small undertow brought my fly subsurface.
"Why you little..." I muffled behind clenched teeth, as I casted the water out of my fly and presented it again. Another refusal made me lose confidence in my fly, so I picked it up and laid it down fast. As soon as my fly hit the water it started sinking.  It was nowhere near the feeding lane of the fish, and my fly was now three inches underwater, and sinking. Slack line was everywhere, and I had stood up straight to stretch when the fish bolted over and took my fly!
 
"Whoa!" Was all I could muster up as I scrambled to regain control of the mess that was my fly line, and set the hook.
 
 
A strong connection was made, and my fish was pissed! The fierce splashes it made echoed across the silent creek as I pulled it closer.  Other fish in the area were spooked from the violent shaking.  When there was no hope of escape, the fish came in close enough for me to snap an underwater picture.
 

The fish kicked off fast as soon as the hook was free.  With a smile, I watched as my fish darted away.  I had spent a significant amount of time on this one fish, and it was worth it.


Time was against me once again on Rocky Ford Creek.  In the spirit of hooking into a few more fish, I started sight nymphing. As I brought in my fourth fish with a nymph, my alarm went off to remind me it was time to go.  I quickly brought in my last fish, and let it go before clipping the fly from my line.  One last look at the creek made me think of the friends I wanted to bring. Ryan Spillers would love the streamer fishing. Steve Adkins loves fishing the Rocky Ford so much, that when he's in town and grabbing coffee in the morning, he will pick up the tab for the person in the car behind him... just because. The thought of it makes me smile... "Until next time Rocky Ford!" I said, then turned and walked away without looking back.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Back Home for a Wedding


Needless to say, I found myself at Rocky Ford Creek for a day of fishing before heading off to my buddy, Tom Los's wedding.  

I arrived early and geared up fast, and although there is no wading at Rocky Ford, the sight of stinging nettles inspired me to wader up anyway.  I started with a dali llama streamer, which got me into my first fish in no time. 


Two younger guys saw me fighting my fish and came over to talk. They were from Spokane, WA, and new to fly fishing.  Naturally our conversation revolved around the basic fundamentals of fly fishing Rocky Ford Creek, and the idea of fishing a spring creek in general.

“Sight nymphing is the most effective way of fishing the creek.” I explained, as they listened.  Standing on the bridge, I pointed to a fish slightly downstream from us. 
“I bet you can catch that fish right now with a nymph.” I said, leaving them with the confidence to catch the fish. 
 
 
After thoroughly fishing a small area with my dali llama, with only a few bumps to speak of, I walked back to the bridge where I had left the two guys from Spokane. 
“Anything yet?” I asked. 
“No.” He said. 
“Let me see your fly.” I asked, as he pulled it up. I noticed there was no weight to his fly. I had forgot to mention how deceptively shallow Rocky Ford can look due to gin-clear water.  
“Do you have a nymph with some weight?” I asked. 
“Yeah, I think so...” He said, reaching for his box and pulling out a small, brassy nymph. 
“Perfect!” I said, and rigged up his line, adding some smaller tippet. He plopped the nymph down, but was a little off on his presentation. I did my best to explain where to place the nymph, but one look from him suggested he didn’t quite understand.  He handed over his rod for me to demonstrate. 
“Okay, the fish is about six feet deep, therefore I need to place my nymph a ways in front of the fish so that it has time to sink down to the fish.” 
“Ok.” he said watching. I plopped the nymph into the water, and we both watched as it sank to the level of the fish. As the nymph neared the fish, the fish leisurely moved over to it. 
“Ok, there it comes!” I said excitedly, as the fish ate the small nymph. 
“And there’s your fish!” I said, setting the hook and handing the rod over for him to fight the fish.  He took the rod, and walked over to an easy spot to land the fish.  I took out my camera to snap a picture, and right when I did, the fly came unbuttoned from the fish’s mouth, ending the fight. 
 

“That’s ok; these fish are still hungry and there is another one right here for you to catch.” I said, before walking up to the parking lot to greet my dad, who had finally made it down to fish with me. I rigged up his rod as he geared up, and soon we were fishing. 

I watched as fish rose off in the distance and thought, what a great opportunity for me to introduce another gem in my fly box I call the PICO ANT!  With its small profile and wide-gaped low-viz black barbless hook, it was sure to fool even the most snobby of trout.  Well... this is it, I thought as I launched the pico ant out to the rising fish.  The small white wing on the back made it easily visible at 70 feet, and I breathed a sigh of relief as a fish ate it with no hesitation!  The thrashing fish got my dad's attention, and he came over as I landed the fish and snapped a picture. 
 
“What did it take?” Asked my dad, after the fish bolted off. 
“A pico ant.” I said, with a smile.
“You got another one?” He asked, smiling back. 
“Yep, something we cooked up in the fly shop.” I said, before I turned back to watch the rising fish.  I could see another rising fish, and judging by its mouth, it looked bigger than the fish I had just caught. 
“Do you think you can get that one?” My dad asked. 
“Let's see.” I said.  
This fish was further away than the last fish, so I peeled off line, and shot it out a little ways in front of the rising fish.  My dad and I watched as the small white wing of the pico ant coasted closer to where we had seen the fish.  A large disturbance near my ant suggested a refusal. 
“It refused me...” I said, disappointed; but then, as if rethinking its decision, the fish turned back and slammed my fly!
 
I handed my camera back to my dad and brought in a nice slab of a fish!
 
The Pico ant was working great!  I brought in another 20-inch fish, but for Rocky Ford Creek that’s no big deal, so no need for a picture...

We decided to fish a different section of the creek, and as we walked back, I went see how my Spokane buddies were doing.  They had yet to get into a fish since the one I had hooked for them previously, and were still after the fish I had pointed out. 
“Will that fish not take?” I asked, looking into the water. 
“No, it won't seem to eat the fly.” One said, as the other continued to look at the fish. 
“May I give it a shot?” I asked, and he handed over his fly rod.  I explained, in detail, what I was doing as my nymph plopped into the water.  Just like before, the fish reacted to the nymph, and ate it! 
“Here you go.” I said, handing the rod back with a fish attached. The fish leaped out of the water, and came unbuttoned quick. 
“Man, you caught that quick!” The other friend said, as he watched  the fish swim away. 
“It doesn’t always happen that way.” I said, before my dad and I took off to find another spot. 
 

The aquatic vegetation was thick at our new spot, which made streamer fishing tough.  We found a fish near the bank, and after seeing how successful I had been teaching the Spokane boys how to sight nymph, my dad decided to throw on a nymph to try his luck.  Sure enough, after a few casts, he was hooked into his first fish of the day!

I didn’t offer up any advice as my dad fought the fish; I just watched and was ready with the net. 


The fish made a run for it, and my dad kept his rod tip up.  The fight was lasting way too long, and the fish was moving further away. 
“Okay, Dad, you better bring it in.” I suggested. 
“I can't; it keeps pulling.” He said, keeping his eyes on the fish. 
“You are going to lose it if you don’t apply some pressure.” I added as the fish swam deeper into the vegetation, but it was already too late.  The fish had tangled the leader and tippet around the vegetation and shook free, leaving my dad fish-less. 


We moved to a new spot and I immediately found a fish willing to take a streamer.  Though the fish got away before I could bring it in, the hit and fight felt good.
"I got one!" I heard my dad yell.  I looked over and saw that he was indeed fighting a fish.


I reeled in quickly, ran to my dad's side, and could see that his fish was putting up a good fight.


"You need to get its head up over that moss, and bring him in." I said, but that wasn't going to be easy.  The caught fish was tiring, and just as my dad brought the fish up to pull over the weeds, it exploded into another run.
"Holy cow!" My dad said under his breath as the fish tore away. That, thankfully, was the fish's last run. With a big heave the fish was brought over the weeds and into my net.
"Oh my God!" My dad said, lowering his rod tip, finally able to relax his arms. He reached for his fish and brought it up for the camera, but the fish had different plans. It flipped in his hands, fumbling all about, as he tried to maintain control. The fish settled down, and after seeing how he had it held, my dad lifted his head and smiled for the camera.


We quickly got the fish back into the water, and it kicked off with force.  I only had time to pull off my line and was about to cast when I heard my dad.
"I got another one!" He yelled, so I reeled up all my line and headed over to help.


"My arms are getting tired." My dad said, as the fish fought to stay away.  This was a much bigger fish than his last one, and it was taking twice as long to bring in.  My dad's arms were fatiguing fast with every tug of the fish.
"Bring it in fast." I suggested.
"I can't!" He said back.
"Yes you can, the fish is tired; bring it in!" I said, watching the fish.
"You do it then!" He yelled, and handed over his rod.  I felt the weight of the fish, and it was definitely ready to come in.  I lifted its head out of the water, and with the rod doubled over, brought it in quick. My dad looked at me smugly, after I accomplished the maneuver in less that ten seconds.
"Did you think I wasn't going to be able to do it?" I asked, as he picked up the fish for a picture.


"Is this the big fish of the day?" My dad asked, holding his fish.
"The one I fought with the Pico ant was bigger." I said, leaving my dad frowning. I went to snap another picture and the fish flopped right as I took the shot!

 
I quickly picked the fish up and held it in the water.  At Rocky Ford Creek if you let the fish go too soon, it will turn belly up.  Though it will start to swim away, you need to hold the fish until it kicks hard.  I held my dad's fish in the water, and the sheer force of the kick this fish gave startled me; there was no holding on after that. 
 

We finished the day off by each catching another fish.  My dad had become quite the fly fisherman: today he proved that by hooking into five fish with very little help.  It was only a year ago when catching a fish for him was merely just a thought, and now I am almost certain he will get into one.  Though we had plenty of daylight left, we had to get going... There was a wedding to attend after all.