My two sons-in-law and I were having lunch in the snow after a terrific morning of spring fishing on Colorado’s Yampa River. Fishing in the Spring on the Yampa usually means snow banks in March along the river. Snowshoes are sometimes required to get to the river. Both big Rainbows and Browns were caught by all. Our weapons were a #14 egg pattern along with a #20 RS2 midge imitation. A #20 WD40, also a midge imitation, performed well. All flies were fished close to the bottom. As they say in the West, we fished the flies “Wet”.
My fly fishing years now number about 48. I began in 1967 when I was in the Air force stationed in Utah. We fished the beautiful Wasatch mountains east of Salt lake City and Ogden. My first fly rod was a heavy old clunker; but, I was just thrilled to be doing it. Also, in those days, I thought all flies had to be dry flies. So, one day early in the game, I and a friend were on some public water thrashing it to a froth with a large dry fly. A very grizzly old Cowboy rode up on a horse and watched me for awhile. He then asked my what I was doing. I was surprised that he had to ask; but, I told him that I was fly fishing. “No Sir, you’re not”, he said. I told him that I was certainly willing to listen to any advice that he might offer.
He climbed off his horse; and offered me a couple of flies. Turned out that he owned the ranch; and, leased it on a long term basis to the Fish and Game for public fishing. “Son”, he said. “Out here in the West, most fish are caught wet. He meant, of course, that flies under the surface did much better that flies fished on top of the surface. I have never forgotten that moment or that advice.
So, my guess is that we will all stick with something “wet” after lunch. By the way, I should mention lunch. Opening a can of sardines on the riverbank and eating them with wheat thins is fabulous. And, washing them down with a cold beer really makes the day.