Over my fifty some years of fishing, I have enjoyed most legal ways of catching fish. Good old worms on a hook for Brook Trout in Northeast Washington. Herring for Salmon in Puget Sound. Power bait for Trout in West Medical lake. All kinds of plastic and artificial lures for bass in Banks lake: Crappies, Bluegill, and Sunfish. I could go on and on and let me assure you I have enjoyed every minute of it. I love fishing and fish. King Salmon steak barbequed to perfection. The best!
Purple Chubby Chernobyl
And yet I am a dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core, fly fisher. On any given day of the year, if you were to give me the choice and all other things being equal between fly fishing and any other form of legal fishing, I would easily choose fly fishing. Even if my chances are lower of catching fish. To me, there is a balance between the experience and the catching. I want to catch fish and often the more I catch the more I enjoy it.
Using a strike indicator and nymph
Catching fish is often the best part of the experience but it is not all.
I prefer catch and release fishing for many reasons. The least noble of which is I am somewhat lazy. I often shy away from the hassle of keeping, cleaning and preparing the fish. The others are the obvious benefits to a fishery, particularly one best fitted to catch and release fishing, such as a Cutthroat river fishery. But I also respect the fisher that wants to legally keep their limit in a fishery designed for taking the resource.
Just like most of us, Ideally, I would be fighting fish on a pristine river in Alaska, watching the rod bend in the last rays of sun for the day, the snowcapped mountain range rises behind the jumping fish. But I cannot experience that often enough to satiate my desire to catch fish. I am content with taking my boat out to the local lake even if it’s not the most beautiful place in the world.
Freeway close by
Good fly fishing experiences don’t have to be the “Montana” or Alaska” experience. I have had fun fly fishing and catching fish in a river next to a freeway with Tubers floating down every ten minutes. (Okay, that was very annoying) but I still had fun. There is just something I love about tricking a fish into taking my offering. Maybe because a fish is one of the few things with less intelligence than me.
Tubers going by
And my fly fishing doesn’t have to be “A River Runs through it” scene with majestic casts and dry fly fishing. When I go fly fishing, I want to catch fish and I will do it with the best means legally possible. That includes using weights, strike indicators, casting however I can get the job done. I don’t usually care what it looks like as long as it helps me catch fish.
So, let’s get out there and enjoy catching fish anyway legally possible. If you have never fly fished, get started cheap, fish some of the same waters you fish by other methods but use fly fishing gear. Read, watch, study and see if you enjoy fishing even more with this type of quiet passion. Certainly, try to get to the beautiful places on earth as well. And if you already like fly fishing, do it as often as you can. Learn, pursue, experience, commune, adventure, push, enjoy the pursuit of outsmarting a fish.