© 2014 Grace Baldwin

Fishing in Bishop: Day 1

An Account of My First Day Fly Fishing on the Owen’s River

Waking up at 7:30 am, after an exhausting full day of traveling, I rolled out of bed and prepared for my first day of fly fishing… ever!

After a hardy breakfast, I gathered my gear and walked outside to meet my guide, along with the 15 other Colby students. After dividing into our groups and meeting our guides, each car headed out for the first day.

1725391_10152079499167874_1616581447_nDorian Gribble, our guide, took our group consisting of John Vanesse, Charles Macaulay, Olivia Collins and myself, to our first spot for the day.

Our first hole was about a quarter mile from the power plant near the dam in the middle of the Owens River. After Dorian rigged our rods up, we threw on our waders and headed down. [To the left: Our group fishing the lower Owens.]

John went first and after a couple casts hooked a beautiful brown. I was stunned (despite being pre-warned) at the unique beauty of the trout. They are truly gorgeous, incredible creatures.

We fished a small hole and the trout were hooking so frequently that we switched out after two hooks each. This gave Dorian the ability to really work with us individually on our casting technique. My first time casting, I was pretty terrible. I had no control of where my fly went and didn’t really understand what I was doing. But somehow I hooked my first trout! A little rainbow. I kept casting, and a short time later hooked another fish. The tip of my rod immediately strapped down and I was struck by the muscular power of the fish pulling against my arm. John and Charles were the only ones there at the time, and they were getting excited because my rod was going crazy. [However, later we realized that the fish looked bigger than it was because I was fishing a four weight while everyone else was using a five weight.] I landed the trout, and it was a good 14 inch rainbow, it was incredible. Sadly the beaut scampered away before we could snap a picture.

At that hole, we all caught at least two fish. I caught three fish, the second trout was my biggest. All the fish I caught were stocked rainbow trout. Upon landing my third fish (pictured below), I asked Dorian if I could release the fish myself. I loved releasing the trout. There is something about lightly holding the fish and letting it catch it’s breath, that is in some ways more rewarding than even catching the fish. In that time I was really able to appreciate the trout I had fought, and make a connection as it gulped for oxygen. And then watching it wiggle away into the darker layers of the stream is a sight I will always remember, for each of the fish I caught. 994134_10152079499342874_239235307_n

Around 12 pm we stopped for lunch, and then headed to the lower Owens to continue fishing. The spot was more scenic than up near the power plant. There were cows grazing nearby with the snowy mountains in the backdrop (pictured below). Dorian set us up in various spots along the river. I didn’t catch or hook any fish in my spot and found it difficult to tell what were rises and not just random bubbles in the water. This felt like my first real fishing experience. I felt myself trying to read the water, searching for trout, and adjusting my cast, but I had no luck landing a fish.1604974_774554835893198_510645237_n

Then Dorian gathered our group and we fished a hole together. The hole was fishing hot. Olivia landed two fish; I foul hooked and landed one fish. The fish was my first wild rainbow, it was little but really pretty. I tried to hold the fish myself in a picture for the first time, and embarrassingly held the trout upside down. 1551653_10152079499062874_836613334_n

Overall my first day fly fishing was rewarding and exhilirating! I wrote in my journal that the day was “really fun, exciting, tiring, and fulfilling.” I was eager for my second day to begin!GOPR0132-1