Friday, August 12, 2011

Sometimes you just have to catch fish

In the course of fishing with my friend Dave the other night, our conversation turned to the philosophical, something that is apt to occur after a couple trout with a beer chaser.
Our questionings turned to the legitimacy of catching trout on a wet fly as opposed to a dry.
The classic empirycist's utilitarian argument versus a kind of Socratic idealism.
Dave is what most anglers call a dry-fly purist, a small sect of rigid, uncompromising traditionalists.
He asserts with conviction that the only trout worth catching is one caught on bits of feather and fur that imitates the adult form of a mayfly, caddis or whatever. Whereas, nymphing or dredging for trout sub-surface is an ignoble and wretched pursuit left only to the dissolute and damned fly-angler (perhaps one micro-step up from the bait and lure chuckers.)

My reply: "Sometimes you just gotta catch fish, Dave."

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Columbia River rife with rainbows and river moths

If you can stand clouds of river moths crawling in your ears, eyes, nose and mouth without twitching, you are a true Columbia River fly fisherman.
In what is more than a typical summer, hot weather and high water made for perfect conditions for the river moths, as locals call the prolific hatch of caddis flies.
This year, the hatch seems more intense than normal but it has also translated into some excellent fishing in the stretch of water between Castlegar and the U.S. border.
For those of us who still wade, evening is the perfect time as huge trout come into the shallows to gorge themselves on the caddis buffet. As you cast, the moths insinuate themselves into every oriface, while you stand there stock still slowly twisting in line anticipating a take from one of Columbia's best fighting fish.

Derek cuts through the mass of caddis on the Columbia

And success . . . 
  Caddis patterns are most effective. Try John's river moth, Elk hair Caddis or any emerger pattern.
Double check knots, tippet and leader, I was broken off twice after raising two heavy trout.
The red band rainbow is a unique strain to the Columbia, they grow huge and are great fighters. If you do hook up, try to keep it in slack water because if a big fish blasts out into the current, better hope it forgot something cause chances are it won't be back.
One rainbow I was playing literally jumped over my head while I was getting ready to net it, so be patient, just when you think they're done, they'll go for another line-screaming run.
The evening has been the most productive time with fish rising and good action right into dark.
Derek landed some lunkers the other night including this beauty, that spent more time in the air then it did in the water.
Who knows how long it will last but I plan on being down there as often as I can, enduring river moths in pursuit of the Columbia River rainbow.
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A nice 22-inch rainbow on the Columbia, the white lights in the
background aren't stars but river moths caught in the flash.