In a split moment of unconscious decision, I steered the vehicle off the highway onto the gravel road. I had a guest that had no experience in fly fishing, why did I feel so drawn to put the boat into a lake that had yielded me just as many days of disappointment as it had glory in the past? Memories of hopelessly watching my strike indicators for hours on end ran through my mind, contrasted by fonder memories of rainbow trout pushing the magical ten-pound mark.
“Would someone who has never experienced Stillwater fly fishing even appreciate landing a trophy sized rainbow trout?”, I attempted to replace doubt with hope as the vehicle neared the launch. The lake was glass, there was only one other boat on the water, and as the seventeen-footer slid off the trailer I began to get excited about what could take place on this day. I turned the key and we slowly glided along the water’s smooth surface film in search of hatching bugs or moving fish.
Chironomids. Chironomids everywhere! Though it was only 9:30am there was already a parade of bugs coming off. The depth sounder lit up like a Christmas tree, a steady line of fish suspending themselves two to three feet off of bottom. After a short lesson on how to roll cast thirty feet and tie a non-slip mono loop, two lines were in the water. It did not take 30 seconds for a fish to climb on the #16 Olive Green pupa, and it didn’t take three seconds for the fish to come unbuttoned. After a few “warm-up fish” in the 13-15″ range, I watched the indicator drop like a rock.
A well-executed hook set, many feet of line taken over multiple runs, a few tense moments as the fish ran towards the anchor ropes, and my guest had just landed the rainbow trout of a lifetime in her first hour of fly fishing. On one hand, this was an amazing moment, on the other hand she is now ruined for life! It was truly awesome to watch someone pick up on this so fast. She continued to connect with over 30 more fish, but we both knew at the end of the day which one stood out among the rest.
The point of the story? Don’t try too hard to make the decision on where to go when options are present. Don’t stop and over-analyze the pros and cons, go where your gut feeling tells you to go. Sometimes it will not pan out, more than often it will, and regardless you should always keep the perspective that the end result is not going to make or break your existence!!
Fall Stillwater fishing is in full swing, late September and early October are fully booked but that does not mean there isn’t availability for some great fall lake fishing!! Happy fishing everybody.