What a low water year has taught me

With last year’s lower than average snowpack and a serious lack of rain this summer we’ve been left with lower than average water levels and higher than average temps. For us anglers this has meant more challenging fishing conditions. The higher stream temperatures make the fish more stressed. This means not only are they eating less, but being caught and released can create just enough additional stress that they die. With that in mind we have been fishing a lot more of the smaller tributaries that feed in to the main river, where the water is much cooler due to it being closer to the snowmelt and springs that it originates from.

Smaller water usually means smaller fish which is something that a lot of people, myself previously included, aren’t exactly hoping for when they go fishing. Most people if given a choice would tell you they’d rather go try to catch bigger fish if there’s an option, and I’ve spent much of my time angling with the same mindset. Catch the most fish and the biggest fish you can has always been the goal.  Not having the option to do that as often has made me so much more appreciative of the simple act of going fishing, and has helped me rediscover why I fish and what it means to give a guest a great experience on the river.

Now instead of judging my day in a number of fish caught, I’m judging my days in how few other people I see. The way they ate the fly and the colors of the fish have replaced the idea of catching a trophy fish of a certain size. As a result, crystal clear, remote mountain streams have replaced more crowded stretches of tinted water. Though my days have been filled with smaller brookies rather than large brown trout, I’ve started to enjoy my time fishing more than ever.

It’s great to get back to what fishing is all about, stepping into a piece of water and feeling the world melt away as I’m surrounded by wilderness. Enjoying the simple act of interacting with an ecosystem and becoming a part of it. Slowing down and taking the time to watch as the natural world unfolds before your eyes.  And it’s been great to share that enjoyment with the guests I guide here at the ranch.

No matter what conditions we experience next year, you can find me on the most remote stretch of river I can find, enjoying the simple act of trying to convince a trout to eat a fly.