March 1, 2020
Don't you find it a bit odd how we, as fishermen, go from wanting to just catch "a" fish, to wanting to catch a lot of fish, to then wanting to catch the biggest fish? The writer Phillip Caputo refers to this as the "Ahab Complex," an obsession to pursue and conquer a monster of the depths regardless of the consequences to one's bank account, career and family life. It's the thing that sells all those fly fishing magazines, spawns countless YouTube videos, and investments into plane tickets to far-away locales, not to mention, spurring the latest technological advances in rod designs and fly tying, and any other myriad of gadgets that we feel will give us even the slightest advantage in catching, not just "a" fish, but the biggest fish of our lifetime. We are an odd lot at times, we fishermen, but when was the last time you ever saw anyone holding a small fish on the cover of a fly fishing magazine? Kurt Vonnegut once said, " The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms." And a charming bunch we are, fishermen— always on the hunt for bigger and better. I'll admit, I've fallen right in there with the worst of you. Help, help me, Rhonda. I don't even know if it's possible, but I'm guessing it's already too late to change. There you have it, leave it to a man's ego to turn a contemplative, cerebral, sport into a measuring contest. Sigmund Freud's couch ,no doubt, was home to many a fly fisher. Abandon all hope, ye who enter.
Well, this past week wasn't without its challenges as far as the weather was concerned, at least the earlier part of the week. I totally bailed on the idea of going out on Monday and judging by the number of tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lot at 35 miles per hour, it was probably a good call. Tuesday morning started out looking a little more promising, since Old Glory was hanging limp against the flagpole at the Post Office, when I checked it at 9:00 am.—the closest thing we have to a wind sock here in Navajo Dam. By the time I rounded up all the necessary clothing that was going to be required and had an double shot espresso to get the whole dog and pony show into proper gear, the wind was already picking up and I had second thoughts, but having already heavily invested in putting all those layers on, I was reticent to to pull the plug on the operation. The extra fifteen minutes I had to wait for the final application for a certain shade of Revlon nail polish to dry on the underside of some terrestrial patterns that I had a friend tie up for me with my special instructions, probably didn't help, where timeliness was concerned. Turns out, it was worth the wait. Anyway, I had a pretty good day fishing dries between wind gusts and knocking ice out of my guides. The rest of the week after I went back to work, was much nicer, with everyone coming into the shop with sunburned faces, telling me how nice the weather and the fishing was. So it goes. This coming week looks to be much better with some highs in the 60s and only moderate wind. The fishing here has been pretty solid for the past few weeks an I suspect it will only improve as we move into warmer weather. If nothing else, at least you'll be much more comfortable doing it. The flow is still at 400 cfs and will likely stay at that level for a considerable time in the future. Water clarity is around two feet or so. There's some sporadic midge hatches around mid-day and although they are not real heavy, they're good enough to get some fish up. I've been tossing some bigger terrestrial patterns and bringing up a few fish before the hatch and then switching over to a size 24 midge adult dry, once they get picky and start that eating one small bug at a time, business. There have been some BWOs showing up in the lower river, especially on overcast days and I expect this will only improve as we move into March and early April. On the nymphing front, it's midge larva and pupa, then later, emerger patterns in the upper river, with a mix of baetis nymphs for the lower section. Size 24 and 26 for the midges and 24 and 22 for the baetis. Hope you can make it out soon. By this time next week, I hope to be playing Beach Blanket Bingo, but will return to this column before you know it. Gotta go feed that Ahab Complex. If you would like more information or would like to book a guide, give us a call at 505-632-2194.