Report from Field Day 1, 2017
Older boy has been studying native fishes in his aquarium and taken an interest in fisheries books. Always asking about hybrids of various species. Often asking to fish. We didn't talk a lot about the stream trout opener but maybe we all assumed we'd go out.
Stayed close to home; easy access; easy fishing water 1130-1530. As it happened we found a vehicle parked downstream; pleasant surprise to find only one on first day. We left him alone and moved upstream, hoping to give him water and get in far enough ahead to not bother him or ever see him for that matter. We parked at an access with unbroken snow; looked good. But after the slog to the river, we indeed found his tracks; he'd covered water pretty quickly and was ahead of us. Nymphing through the good holes, sure. I asked the kids if they wanted to leave; find other water; they did not. Seemed to not care. My figuring was that we'd catch fewer fish, but still find means of prying a few from deep.
Let the big guy go first; two nymphs; one shot twelve inches up; one strike indicator. My exact kind words were, now remember, there is no backcast here. None. It's flips and rolls and they'll be hinged and not pretty but don't worry about it. Enjoyable for me to stand back and watch him approach the water; work it; understanding the seams. Not all growth and development is linear. For example after this season's first basketball practice he came home and said I don't know what happened, it was like magic, but now I can somehow do layups perfectly. Good memory. And another one here. After a long break from fishing (November (?) with spinning gear) and a longer break from fly rod (October maybe), he appeared to have made a nice leap forward. No backcasts. Subtle but important things like knowing to look around before attempting to free a snag; then recovering in mid-air after it pops free. Easy rolls into good lanes. He was already a bird-dog on the indicator and that didn't change. Fun to watch. The action was generally slow, because as I confirmed later, the guy was not far ahead of us. Kid ended up hooking three and landing all of them. Pretty good batting average. All came from different holes. First a forehand hole; then a backhand hole; then a forehand hole. Held them well and used both hands to control tension and line meting. Starting to get a little excited about what he might do in terms of angling. Quite a few years ahead of him. Next he needs to learn to cast. Thinking we'll dial it back to the Cannon River days ~16 years ago and wade some lakes; easy casting of poppers for silly aggressive fish; no banks or trees to snag while learning the stroke and loop. Something for the month of May.
|A lot in the picture: boy, dad, fish, midge.|
Younger guy is not yet double digit years. He has fish to his own name for sure; I think 15-18 trout nymphing on his own. On this day he had a tougher deal: hooked three and all came unpinned. One was a very good lesson in that he played it for maybe 10-15 seconds, holding pretty well; then it made a nice downstream run (this is 2 wt rod; light gear). Fish charges for freedom; boy locks down; fish comes off. Boy slackens in dismay. That's about how it went. But the fish are all there; they don't leave. Nor does the boy leave or at least he doesn't go far; just home to sleep and start up again. This ain't a club membership with a two week limit. The fish are there in the holes and they can be had; that is the encouragement. Focus on the next one. He handled it pretty well because overall he handles things well; easy-going.
There was one notable fight that went beyond somewhat-acceptable because it was right at river's edge, twenty minutes from the car (be dangerous to get completely soaked). Older boy headlocked younger; cast him to the stony bank and was posturing such that he might boot him hard with a hip wader steel-enforced toe. Younger boy up in a wild cry with some angular slab of limestone cocked. Dad inserting himself between trying to keep everyone dry and safe; trying keep a calm voice so as to not escalate. In the end young boy on a log, eating and drinking slowly lamenting that he cannot trust old boy. Maybe old boy heard and saw.
The reason was stated roughly as follows: he keeps looking at me and making faces and funny noises while I'm trying to fish. There it is then... something we've all felt at some point. Our charge as adults is to handle it and be polite. Suppose it doesn't always work as well for kids. I understand and accept.
Very notably after this conflict they became inseparable; in the end, discussing a plan to knock out the wall between their rooms so they could have one big "joint room."
|After the skirmish; after some fish; walking out.|
|Always like coming across this copse of poplar. Part of the monochrome.|