Can your homewater be nowhere near your actual home? Can it be a place you've only fished a handful of times? What matters more: how a river has influenced your evolution or how many times you've fish it and how well you know it's character?
The first time I fished this river was a few days after meeting the girl who eventually became my wife. I camped by myself and, for the first time, caught some beautiful fish on flies that I actually tied.
The last time I set set foot in its waters was to introduce Mark and Adam to it as my favorite river. That was a month before my wife and I moved overseas, more than 5 years ago. If you've experienced moments like that on a river like this one, you can understand why it has a special place in my heart and why we made the drive to experience it again.
The river was smaller than I remembered it. Narrower. Memory will do that, I suppose. But it smelled the same, and the water was as green as I was expecting. After the first few casts, my memories of the fish as the most colorful around were confirmed as well.
Letort Hopper + dropper
The first hole produced a wild rainbow, usually the most difficult trout to find here. After that, we took turns fishing pools as we walked upstream. It's my favorite way to fish and I get just as much out of watching Mark do his thing than I get out of catching one myself.
Mark's first fish was one of the the river's signature 14" gold bars. We took a photo or two and admired the fish in the water before the release. Then we spent a moment enjoying the moment before moving on.
The sun began to peak out of the clouds and the fishing continued to be strong for the next hour. We each landed a few smaller browns and I got a beautiful little brook trout before it began to rain.
With nowhere better to be, we stood under some branches and reveled in the cold soaking rain for the 15-minute shower.
The sun reappeared and the trout were looking up. Mark got another wild rainbow and more browns came to hand.
These browns are made of gold and layers of pattern.
There are also some of the prettiest examples of my favorite trout, the brookie.
As the day wore on, the Sun burned off the fog hovering over the water and the fishing began to cool off. We each missed larger fish and very many aggressive takes from smaller ones.
Mark brought to hand another beautiful brown that I had to admire from a distance.
a special place that holds some special fish
We ended each day by looking for rising fish as the forest canopy turned out the lights on the river. Mark stood on a wooden suspension bridge and called out the rising fish to me, as looking through the fog at river level was near impossible. Even with 7X we could not team up for a take.
Returning to this river is something I've imagined doing ever since the last time I fished it. It's one of those waters that communicate to you, in its own language, why you love fly fishing. You can't really put it into words, but you feel it in places like this. Already, I can't wait to go back.