Last week I found myself with some unexpected and unfortunate time off of work. My 81 year old grandmother had lost her battle with cancer and my job graciously gave me some time off of work for bereavement.
I’m sure most of you feel the same we I do in that fishing is good for the soul. It is a way to collect your thoughts and work through problems while at the same time not thinking about anything at all. So there was no better way for me to spend some hours inside my own head than taking a solo mission with the fly rod down to the Truckee River for some tight line therapy.
Kelly had taken a guide trip with our good friend Jan Nemec of Mimic Fly Fishing a week earlier and they had hit some (new to us) waters in the upper section of the Truckee on the Nevada side. They had done really well in this stretch with Kelly landing several nice rainbows, a brown and a mountain white fish.
I decided that I was going to hike into those same waters from my usual starting point on the Truckee. This would give me time to think and explore some new runs and holes.
I hiked up river for about 3 hours total, crossing the river several times and stopping at multiple “fishy” looking spots along the way. I saw a few fish but none of them wanted what I was offering. So after a few more casts and narrowly avoiding taking a nap on the river bank after slipping off a boulder I was climbing over almost knocking myself out I figured it was time to go find some lunch.
I crossed back over the river, walked up the cliff face, crossed over some railroad tracks and started back to the trusty fishing wagon.
Once I reached the car I was about to start breaking down my rod when that little voice inside my head said “Hey! You spent all this time hiking in new waters and you never got your line wet in your normal fishing hole!”
I tried telling that voice inside my head to mind it own business and that a cold drink and a burger seemed like a better idea than walking back down the hill to more than likely keep the skunk stripe on my back. But the voice inside my head won the battle of fishing vs. burger, so off I heading down the hill to try my luck for a few more hours.
So with fly rod in hand I sent my first dead drift down through the large hole I’ve pulled some decent fish out of over this year. After about 3 or 4 drifts my indicator shot down and I set the hook, immediately I knew it was a decent fish, it had some weight to it and started heading down stream with authority. I did my best to follow my fish down stream with what is known as the Truckee River Shuffle while keep constant pressure on the fish.
After a well fought battle the fish was in the net. It was a beautiful 20″ Truckee River Brown Trout. Which to me is arguably one of the prettiest fish in the world. My hands were shaking with adrenaline and being by myself I only got a handful of decent photos of my prize. So after a quick photo shoot we shook hands and parted ways.
My tippet and flies were mangled into a birds nest of knots after I released the Brown, so I decided to retie my setup and sent a few texts to the WTLGT crew with photos on the brown.
Once I was set back up and utilized some of my unlimited text messaging plan I was back in the river, happy to have the stripe off of my back and eager to see if there were anymore hungry trout wanting to eat.
Now they say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but while standing in the same exact spot, throwing the same exact flies I started my drift with an upstream cast in the shallow fast water above the deep hole and almost immediately my indicator shot down but did a little wiggle. In that split second when you try to decipher if you have a fish or a shallow rock attached to your fly and whether or not to set the hook or just give it enough force to hopefully get unsnagged from the bottom, that little wiggle of the indicator was at the forefront of my decision. So I set the hook and felt what I was sure was another nice Brown taking me for my second Truckee River Shuffle in as many casts.
This fish fought harder than the last and didn’t want to give up the fight. As soon as I got a slight edge on the fish and getting it closer to the shallows it would take right back off into the fast water. The whole time your mind is racing wondering if your knots are strong, if you should have beefed up your tippet selection or if that size 16 hook is going to straighten out on you or not.
As I watched the indicator come closer and closer the fish finally showed itself with a big surface roll and a splash of its tail….It was a Rainbow, a Rainbow bigger than any other Rainbow I have ever landed on the Truckee. I knew that I had to land this fish to give any credibility to my story because as we all know you need to have a photo or it didn’t happen.
As I got the fish into the shallows it found a nice tree branch to wrap my leader and tippet around. I had to make a mad dash with my net to land this fish before it broke me off and after a brief moment of panic the fish was in the net. I was shaking again from even more adrenaline than before and was staring at the biggest Rainbow of my I’ve landed out of the river I call my home waters.
As with the Brown, I took a handful of shaky photos and gave this fish time to recover from our dance together. Once it was ready to go we looked each other in the eye, shook hands and as she swam away I thought “Hopefully we meet again, but if not thank you for visiting”.
I took some time to just sit there on the river bank reflecting on the 2 most beautiful fish I’ve even caught, not to mention on back to back casts. Knowing that I could have gotten into a handful more fish I thanked the river gods for the awesome experience and headed back to the car.
At that moment I was truly happy, I had started out the day with a head clouded in worry, anxiety and grief. I ended that afternoon with a plan to focus on what’s truly meaningful in this world and mentally accepting the loss on my wonderful, hilarious grandmother.
The days proceeding that day were also very good not only for the fishing but for putting thing in prospective.
Two days after that day I got to fish the river with our good buddy Jan Nemec and I got to watch a master at work. In the short time we fished I learned several new tips from just watching Jan fish and he got into a good number of fish, one being a beautiful healthy rainbow that just missed getting into the net by a matter of centimeters.
Then the next day I fished with fellow WTLGT member Jason Glines. The day after I lost my grandmother Jason and his wife Linda brought their first child into this world. Gage Maxamillion Glines is an amazing addition to their family and mine as well. In a 24 hour period I lost a grandmother and gained a nephew. The circle of life.
So needless to say having a new born at home will leave even the strongest man feeling like a zombie and questioning his sanity, so it was time for Jason to get some river therapy as I did a few days earlier. Again the river showed us mercy and gave up two healthy Browns for me and a beautifully feisty Rainbow for Jason that went airborne twice before finding it’s way into the net.
The last two trips of the weekend I couldn’t make but Jason, Kelly Glenn and Matt all hit the Truckee. There were fish landed and lost, one being a rather large Brown that straightened out a hook on Jason. He’ll be back out this weekend for round two that’s for sure.
If you have time get out there. The Truckee is fishing great but with the warm summer days hit the river early and give the trout a break come lunch time and when they do hit the net give them a little extra time to recover.
We’ll have another post coming soon. Matt, Glenn and our friend Neil recently took a trip to the Pine Forest Mountains and fished Knott Creek and Blue Lakes, so we’ll report on that trip shortly.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. Get out there and enjoy the lakes and rivers. Keep your loved ones close and be happy in what you choose to do in life.
Until next time keep those lines tight and knots strong.