What we gain…

Loon Lake, Adirondack Park

Having just returned from a week mostly isolated from the world in the Adirondacks, I have given considerable thought to the fish I did not catch. We got skunked on the West Branch of the AuSable, I caught what seemed to be the only brook trout in the upper East Branch of the Sacandaga, and I only caught one bass in a lake plentiful with bass and pike.

Sacandaga River in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness

I could mention that the local fly shops told me it has been an unusual year, that the trout strangely were not feeding on hatches, which were also a little late and thin. I could say it was the weather that went from quite cool to downright hot in five days, or I could blame it on my own unfamiliarity with and inability to adapt to new streams. While all of these excuses may help me justify my inability to land fish all last week – the excuses actually diminish the true value of the experience.

Testing a beaver pond along the trail

For me, and for many that I know, fly fishing is about what we gain from being on the water, not what we take from it. It is about the unspoiled places where we spend our time, beautiful cascades and over-shadowing mountains, and the friends and family with whom we share the streams. Time on the water has the ability to change us, for the better, if we allow it the opportunity. While we endeavor to leave the streams and the trout as we found them, the streams will actually send us home better than they found us, if we let them. This is what we gain.

5 thoughts on “What we gain…”

  1. A great reflective attitude concerning time spent on the water. There’s a lot to be gained even when the catching is minimal. You’re not alone when it comes to scratching your head about the catch rate. I think this is my slowest season in the last 35 years of fly-fishing everywhere. A part of the reason is that hatchery trout have not been distributed as they usually have, because of Covid-19, but even the wild fisheries that I’ve come to know have seemed less inclined to show themselves recently. Not sure what’s going on, but time will tell. Anyhow, glad you enjoyed another visit to the wilds.

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  2. Could it be that the trout have learned about ‘social distancing’ and are merely trying to keep us safe? I don’t mean to make light of a serious situation when I don’t know how you will react to to my levity. You pretty much covered every conceivable notion or reason why you didn’t catch so much on this particular outting. Maybe it was just ‘one of those days’? Like you said – even when you don’t catch a fish, you get something out of the excursion anyway. – UB

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    1. That is the most common conversation I have on the water: what is going on with the trout? I can’t speak for other regions, but the weather here has been abnormal… warm winter, excessive rain, cool spring, early summer… major swings in barometric pressure…. the only thing predictable these days is the moon.

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  3. Could it be that the trout have learned about ‘social distancing’ and are merely trying to keep us safe? I don’t mean to make light of a serious situation when I don’t know how you will react to to my levity. You pretty much covered every conceivable notion or reason why you didn’t catch so much on this particular outting. Maybe it was just ‘one of those days’? Like you said – even when you don’t catch a fish, you get something out of the excursion anyway. – UB

    Liked by 1 person

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