I love this career, because building the Troutbitten media company is a daily reward, in so many ways. Because learning from other anglers and paying it forward is a great way to lead a fishing life.
I aim to build something that lasts, with each branch of the Troutbitten project. From filming, photography and editing, to recording podcasts and writing articles, these works are a creative outlet and a chance to hopefully inspire others to dig deeper into the outdoors and share their rivers with family and friends. Spending time with your boots in the water leads to more smiles and an easier spirit. And when enough of that goes around, the whole world gets a little better.
Trout fishing with a fly is an endless mystery. It comes with a set of questions renewed at each sunrise, and we prize the trout among game fish for its selective nature and discriminating disposition.
If trout fishing is easy, may I suggest that you’re casting to the wrong fish? A half century ago, a common mindset was to go where the fishing was easiest, catch and keep your limit, then go home. Hatcheries and fish commissions across the country helped foster this idea by stocking eager trout that were willing to play a simpler game. But catch and release trout fishing has changed much of that. And the art of the sport has taken prominence.
Make no mistake, wild trout fishing can be fast too. Our Eastern Brook Trout is not known for selectivity. The particular challenge of catching a brookie is in approaching the water and putting on the miles to get there. These trout welcome you into some of the most stunning valleys on earth, and they’re not about to snub your efforts if you’ve earned your way there.
Most of us though, certainly those here with the Troutbitten crew, spend our best days chasing wild brown trout in some of the most challenging rivers on the planet. I’ve been around a bit, but I also have friends who’ve traveled the world in pursuit of tough trout, and they confirm that we cast over some of the pickiest trout anywhere.
We love it.
No forgiveness. No freebies. Just wild trout that require your best effort and then some. It might take fifty perfect drifts on a dry fly, among a scattering of lanes and pockets to find one trout that’s hungry and willing enough to turn on the green light. You might be an hour into cycling through streamer presentations and changing patterns before finally turning those flashes and refusals into real hookups and a few trout in the net.
Then everything changes.
And we’re thankful for the challenge. It drives us. The unanswered questions scratch our curiosity.
“What if I try a speed-lead with my stonefly nymph next time out?”
We wonder and muse. We plan and prepare.
“Because those stoneflies are crawling to rocks and tree parts to hatch, I know they’re swimming and moving around. And they’re probably doing it more downstream, with the current, more than fighting against it.”
The habits of trout and their response to the myriad of environmental variables lends endless complexity to a day on the river. It’s a riddle with several solutions. And at any given moment, seemingly on the whims of Mother Nature or God himself, all that we’ve learned for the day shifts. The etch-a-sketch shakes. The table is reset.
From our best trout rivers, we’re dealt a fair game. We know what trout want. They look for something safe to eat. Something familiar. Something easy with a positive calorie reward for their effort. Something natural, with maybe just a little spark.
Trout fishing with a fly can be easy for a while. We might have days or weeks where the fish eat the same thing at the same time, every day, predictably. But that will change.
And we’re thankful for the complexity. Because easy fishing is boring, and no one builds an interesting life around it.
We don’t want it easy. We want to solve a puzzle — or at least put a few of the pieces together.
Fish hard, friends.
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Enjoy the day.
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