Welcome to Just Old Flies

Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than todays modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish the flies. Perhaps . .

Part Seventy-nine

My Home River - Part One

By Old Rupe

I fish a somewhat spring creek. It's only an hour away and that was the prime attraction, at first, but over the years I have fallen in love with her. This river was never an easy stream to fish. Bait fishing is allowed and I even think encouraged by the State. I suspect that a certain aversion exists to creating a playground for those elitist fly fishermen.

Few women fish the stream. I don't know why, maybe it's the isolated stretches where the trout really are that precludes them. It's a frightening world out there even with my Glock. It is located in a kind of uncivilized area that doesn't easily match with the fly fishing mind set. It's long necks and "wurms" and country music. Now those are my roots and that doesn't bother me, but I can see that some of the women from the high dollar suburbs might feel ill at ease. I suspect they see a little of the movie Deliverance in their minds eye.

Bad weather can cause my river to be hateful. I have learned over the last twenty years or so how to hop around to avoid the cream in the coffee color a sudden rain event can bring. With a little smart traveling a person can fish another two hours even under adverse conditions. I have seen the times where a smart fisherman just parks under the 36 bridge and watches the river rise. I have seen a three to four foot rise out of a nasty rain event. There is a moral here. Never park your truck close to the water, especially in the spring. I have seen the river up in the cornfields. I will have to admit that I never fished the cornfields well.

Canoes have always been a problem, but it's like a video game, a serious wading staff will always save the day.

The bait fishermen fish the deep holes next to the bridges with cheese and worms. They seem happy to roost there. I fish the two-foot-deep and shallower water with my dries and nymphs. If they ever learned to fish a salmon egg on two pound test line under a real small bobber through the riffles I would do without.

I have a spot that seems to have a hatch every evening. God loves such a place. I park my truck and wait on the main event. If it doesn't happen there it just won't happen. I have even brought my aluminum lawn chair and waited ten feet out in the river with a Fosters. I think that's called anticipating a hatch. Nothing says you can't wait in a lawn chair.

Tim Heenan and his sharp kids fish it like fish hawks. When I want to really excel I call Tim and ask him where and how it was done last week. I don't understand how he can hold a job and fish it like he does. Don't ask don't tell, I guess.

It can get crowded on the weekends. I can remember the time ten years or so before when I thought I saw a fly fisherman in the distance and walked about a half a mile just to meet him. It was a piece of a tree that had fallen in. I was so disappointed. My how times change. Now I have to stake out my spot early, and sight of a fly fisherman will almost guarantee I will pick another spot.

I know where what will happen when, and so I try to be there before the crowd finds the activity. I have been fooled so often as of late that I have lost faith in my remembrances. When the river drops one to two feet during the course of the year whole eco-systems change. I used to have a milk run where I would go from one high percentage spot to another never taking off my waders just fishing a short stretch, sometimes as short as thirty feet, then moving on. The day went like this. Spot, spot, spot, Graybles for lunch, spot, spot, spot, and the bridge for the evening hatch. Life is beautiful when all is in its order and at the end of the day each spot has been hit just right. I would even hide a can of beer in the water near certain spots because I knew I would be there in the next day or two and would relish a cold one. If I had an extra I would spot it and catch it the next day or two. Some of the spots were a piece off the road. It's easier to carry out empties.

I had a stretch that I seldom fished. It was owned by an old navy man who worked stoking coal on American war ships way before I was born. He had a dog that would catch moles in the yard which he would save for me. I met him when I ask permission to fish the water. I seldom fished the water as I would rather talk to him than fish. He seemed to be a part of each days run. I treasure those visits more than any trout I ever caught there. I have never fished the water after he died. It wouldn't feel right. The American people just never understood. What we take for granted is the result of the life long efforts of patriots like him. Each time I watch the world events on TV I think of him and each shovel full of coal he tossed. I'm glad I thanked him for his efforts. When I knew him he was in his 90's. My meager sacrifices pale by comparison. Old Rupe

Continued next time.

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