Sunday Classic / Don’t Hate the River

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Plenty of Room for Everybody Photo by Louis Cahill

I was talking with a friend the other day about doing some fishing in Colorado, his home state.

This is a good topic to bring up if you are trying to lure me into an extended conversation. Colorado is near to my heart. He was throwing out places we might fish and said “I know you love the Dream Stream, but I hate that place”. This really took me off guard. How could anyone hate that place? If you’ve never fished it, trust me, the name says it all. A gorgeous high elevation tailwater, this section of the South Platte snakes thru a quant little valley between two reservoirs, bending back on itself time and time again, each glass clear bend stacked with big, beautiful, educated trout. What’s so terrible about that?

I do love that place and I’ve had some great days there the best being the first. Kent and I showed up with one of the S. Platte’s famous trico hatches in full swing. Glass calm runs turning into boiling caldrons of rising fish. Kent’s triple trico was born that day. The hatch was epic but we caught great fish all day using everything from dries to streamers. How can you hate a place like that? The answer is pretty simple, pressure.

You can’t put a stream like that a couple of hours drive from a major metropolitan area and not expect the word to get out. It’s true that the Dream Stream sees a ton of traffic but I’ve always had good experiences there and on a lot of other highly pressured rivers and I think it’s more than luck. Some of it is strategy and some of it is outlook.

I have structured my life so that I can be on the water while everyone else is at work or with family or just has better sense than to be out. Give me a bitter cold Wednesday on the river anytime. Valentine’s day, Easter Sunday, New Years Day, all good fishing days. Kent and I actually watch the weather looking for the worst possible weather days to hit popular streams. We’ve had to adjust our tactics to catch fish and it’s often tough on the picture taking but it works for us. Some days you just get lucky. Like that first day on the Dream Stream. It was a beautiful day and it should have been packed. Come to think of it, it was! So why didn’t I hate it? Partly because the fishing was so good and partly because I didn’t expect anything different. Sure there were a lot of guys fishing, but no one was rude. I understand that’s not been everyone’s experience but it’s always been mine. In fact I was fishing the Platte one day and set my camera down to take a leak and forgot about it. I went back three hours later and it was sitting there on the bank where I left it. These Colorado anglers can’t be all bad!

I find that I get along pretty well with most guys I catch holding a fly rod. Kent and I met while I was poaching his favorite honey hole and we are the best of friends. One of my favorite things about fly fishing is that it is not competitive. If we enjoy each other’s company and each other’s success we all have a better time on the water. So here are my humble suggestions for having a good day on busy water.

•Try to fish when there is less pressure. It’s better for you, the river and the fish.

•Be courteous, be friendly. Give other anglers some space. Share the water and don’t pound it into submission.

•If there isn’t enough water for everyone, invite someone to fish with you. Take turns on a run. I’ve met some great folks this way and we all caught fish.

•If someone is inconsiderate, try being friendly. Often they are just ignorant of the anglers’ ettiquette. If they really are jerks, move on. They will find someone to have an argument with, without ruining your day.

•When space is limited, find a tough fish and work him until you get him. I’ve seen Kent do this for hours and when you finally catch that fish, it becomes a fond memory.

•Most importantly, respect the river. Don’t beat down the banks, leave trash or wade through spawning habitat. Practice your best catch and release practices. These fish take a beating and we all want them to stay beautiful and healthy. Volunteer for stream restoration or clean up days. Popular rivers become popular for a reason, because they are special places and it’s up to all of us who use them to help keep them special. Don’t hate the river, what it needs is all of your love.

 
Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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7 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Don’t Hate the River

  1. I have to admit I have a piece of water that comes to mind when I think of a place that I “hate”. Hate is really a horrible choice of word for this place. This particular river is gorgeous, holds tons upon tons of fish, both wild and stocked, and is surrounded by some of the prettiest scenery on the planet. However, it is very pressured, and for whatever reason I just haven’t done well there. I fish pressured waters all the time, so this isn’t a new concept. Every time I visit it, the river just seems to have my number. I’ll get even one day though.

  2. I am a native of CO but have resided in OR for the last several years. CO has some awesome rivers and streams to fish, but they are so crowded that it makes me both sad and mad at the same time. The state does an unbelievable job of stocking the streams, but catching a wild native is a rarity.

    We surely have some “crowded stream” issues here in OR but not nearly to the extent of CO. 99% of the fishermen I encounter here in OR are from OR. My last few summers of fishing in CO I rarely met a CO resident, they were all from out of state.

    Fishing is popular anywhere there is water with fish to catch, it is up to all of us to treat it appropriately and support the efforts of folks like Trout Unlimited, etc. in restoring and preserving places for us all to enjoy.

  3. Good advice on behavior. Living on a trout stream with limited public access, I found my best approach to not ruining my day is to not confront folks passing through but instead to be polite. I find my fellow landowners complain a lot about behavior of fishermen on the river while I do not have the same experience. Same thing when I am fishing through other folks’ land. I do not have any problem with adjacent landowners while other fishermen complain about how they are treated. I think there is a pattern here.

    One thing that I would add to your list of sensible suggestions, Louis: do not give unsolicited fishing advice. Well-meaning fishermen offering advice are often seen as meddlers and can disturb rather than improve the fishing. If I am not fishing with you, I chose to do so and want to be left pretty much alone, aside from a kind greeting or well-wishes. Seems many people feel the same. If someone asks advice, that’s another matter. I will normally help with what’s working for me or what bug is coming off if asked.

  4. Haha, I’m with you on the Dream Stream, give me the snowy, cold, or windy days! I fish it 4-5 times each year, and I’ve had some great days there, many times where I’m the first and only vehicle in the parking lot for hours on end…

  5. Pingback: Sunday Classic / Don't Hate the River – Gink and Gasoline360 Haters | 360 Haters

  6. Great write up. I fish and guide on the dream stream and your suggestions
    Are on point. Respect for all of the above mentioned goes a long way.
    It’s a precious resource and if it’s not taken care of, it won’t be around.
    The spawn etiquette definitely needs to be driven home. I think a lot of the problem is some anglers aren’t educated. Confrontations and fist fights have no place on any river. Respect the resource

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