The year started promising. February and March gave midwest anglers lots of open water and hungry fish due to an early thaw and open water. But a wet spring, coupled with the sweltering heat of June paved the way for high water during most of April and May coupled with a heat wave of temperatures unsafe for trout during June and July. That didn’t stop anglers and “guides” from fishing when water temps skyrocketed well-above 70 degrees, but I digress to make this post and website a breeding ground for the defense of unethical angling.
While looking for a new job this summer, my budget and time focused on the career front as opposed to fly fishing as much as I hoped. Turns out, I didn’t miss much with conditions less than favorable for the fly fisherman who fishes with a conscience and desire to improve his knowledge and appreciation of the fish each time he steps out.
I did land my two largest brown trout to date on the fly this past March. Both on the streamer as one was stripped and the other was while swinging for steelhead. I did also land a stud of a brown trout on the Pere Marquette River in Michigan this past August, waking mice during a New Moon phase. The mousing game is one that temps me each summer. While I have spent brighter moon phases trying to engage with the brown trout on rodents, it isn’t as productive as being immersed in a total blanket of darkness, fishing based on sound and feel as opposed to the visual element for both angler and their adversary.
Fishing the dark side of the force isn’t easy and must be done with extreme caution especially while wading unfamiliar waters as no fish is worth sacrificing safety in complete darkness. In a summer of extreme heat, fishing the evening cooler water temperatures is the ethical way to fish. Taking aim during the dark nights allows the water temps to cool as the brown trout in states like Michigan is largely nocturnal.
Much of what I’m writing now is a reflection on the fact that I miss the brief trout season I had in 2018. Sure I caught a lot of quality fish like I hoped. However, for the foreseeable future, fishing for Lake Erie Steelhead amongst a pod full of savages who fish spawn cured in Borax with a center pin rod, chuck lead while hooking fish in the assholes off of gravel or relish in the fact they exclusively swing flies which automatically promotes them to a self-proclaimed “angling expert” as opposed to simply being a pretentious douche, makes me long for the forthcoming trout season, where I can be surrounded by people who are FLY FISHERMEN rather than those who simply go fly fishing.
The upcoming year gives me hope that I’ll find time for myself to go fish more. In a world where we are connected to Google and phones, one must take time to breathe and soothe the soul. As I transition into a new career and hope to move forward in my professional life in 2019, the stresses and hustle of that live are given peace through the outdoors. Fly Fishing became a passion of mine through a stressful job in my previous career. But had I not engaged in that career, I would not have found the one thing I routinely enjoy outside of my professional life. The respite I get from weekend dirtbag excursions to Pennsylvania or Michigan is irreplaceable and with some good people, I look to continue it into 2019.