July 20th, 2002
The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .
By Paul Dieter (pdieter)
Two weeks on the road with the family livin' large and
flinging the occasional fly. Several days of famous
waterways and highways, doing fly-bys on rivers whose
names are all I know of them. Glancing up watersheds
thinking "someday I'll go up there and search for grace."
While keeping a steady existence in chaos at 80 mph and
dreaming of riffles and runs I hear from the back seat,
"Daddy, there's a good spot to find a fish, right there
in those rocks!" That's my girl, she's pointing out junk
water at interstate speeds.
All these flawless numinous moments in intervals within my
memory lie at my feet like stripped line, stored in
anticipation of the next big take. My brother in-law
standing on the side of Rapid Creek beaming like the
Cheshire Cat and saying "big fish; big food" while my
arms still tingle from landing and releasing a 20" rainbow.
I caught the fish in two casts. The first one stopped on
the final back cast in a shrub 15 feet off the bank, and
Jon kindly unhooked it for me. The second cast was a 35'
cross over the body reach cast, right up the far side of
a downed tree that stopped on the second strip. It wasn't
a limb it was a fish with shoulders. A gaudy flashabugger
tied with all the weight my 4wt can toss...big fish; big
Tail water fishing in the glory of Cheesman canyon I cast
over a rising fish to run my weighted nymph rig down the
seam of the pool. Too lazy to change over to a dry and too
confident that I'm just as likely to hook into a better
fish under the surface. Climbing through the boulders on
the far side fishing junk water and already an hour beyond
when I said I'd be back at the cabin. I've hooked and been
played by many fish and even gotten one or two to my net.
This place has a personality that demands to be reckoned
with; on it's terms. It's only consolation to my own personal
style is to reward me for fishing the scrambling junk water
with plenty of action. Some pockets and seams are overlooked
by the masses as being too small, too fast, too hard to wade
or to cast too; just plain junk water.
Two hours of grace on the upper Arkansas while the women
explore the shops of Leadville. Some fine rancher has
onsented to access and the Government is attempting to
restore the habitat giving us family men the chance to
get some fishing in right off the road. The place might
be the twin brother of the warm springs area of the
Clark Fork. Yellowest browns I've ever seen; no idea why.
Down on the lower S. Platte I've come to settle into a
stretch of heavy pockets which is constantly ignored.
People seem to hit the areas on either end and sometimes
dabble in a pocket next to shore but I took one look at
this water a few years ago and couldn't resist wading
into the middle of the river and work drops and pockets
for hundreds of yards. Learning new waters can be so much
like the story of the six blind men from Indostan trying
to decide what an elephant is. It's very easy to get trapped
by taking little snippets of information and extrapolating
it into a grand description of "the way it is." Everything
about fishing denies this narrow definition but we need
so desperately for things to be definite we often ignore
the most obvious lessons in nature.
The best blind date of my life ended up being set up on-line
with a guy called Maverick. He was every bit the gentleman.
He brought me to a grand ball and let me dance with all
the fishies, then kindly brought me home tired and worn
out but unmolested. Fishing shoulder to shoulder wading
up the Platte with the water divided down the middle; not
the sort of fishing you can do with just anybody...especially
the first time.
It has taken me several decades to understand a gift of
seeing things differently. To see beauty, opportunity,
and joy where so many others see chaos, turmoil and
desolation. Every time I pick up a fly rod and wade
into the waters I know class is in session and if I
don't fall asleep or daydream with a cluttered mind
there will be wonderful lessons to be learned.
Preconceptions can only get me so far and then I need
to open my mind to the paradoxes and parables of the
natural realm in order to cross its thresholds. ~ Paul Dieter
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