© 2014 Grace Baldwin

Fishing in Bishop: Day 2

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

On the second day we headed out at 8:15 am, Dorian was hoping to beat the rush and gain the best spots on the river. All the other groups left at 8:45 am.

We went back to the same spots where we had fished at the end of the day 1. Within the first couple minutes casting, I hooked a huge, feisty, 14-15 inch brown trout. I fought the fish for a while and even though I did a good job, the fish shook the hook. Dorian said that sometimes that just happens, even if you correctly battle a trout, he can still spit the hook. You can watch the video of the brown trout I never landed below:

I made it my mission to hook that trout again, but kept hooking trees instead. I found it hard to find the balance between trying to hit the right spot and avoiding the vegetation leaning over the bank.

After a lot of untangling and re-rigging, I hooked the brown again! But he was quite the fighter, and spit the hook again.

Later I hooked another brown trout, fought again, and lost again.

Even though it was frustrating to keep losing fish, it was exciting to battle the trout. I felt outsmarted by a creature that has a brain 1/200th the size of mine; I was bewildered and humbled by the power of the cold blooded fighters.

Finally I caught the second trout that I hooked (pictured below). I had to fight him for a long time and allow him to just tire himself out. I was shocked at how immediately evident it was once the trout was tuckered out. The brown completely froze in the water as if numb from all the exertion. 1545059_690954034278551_291217725_n

Even though it wasn’t the best fish I caught during trip, that fish was one of the most rewarding because of how difficult it was to land.

Next, I headed to a new hole, and immediately hooked a tiny brown. I kept fishing that spot for a little longer, but soon it was time for lunch.

After lunch, we drove higher up the river. John and Charles decided to switch it up and cast dry flies. I continued nymphing and moved up and down the bank of a fast moving current. I fished that part of the river for the entire afternoon. I found myself continuously trying new things, whether it was a different type of cast to a different drift line or changing my position on the bank. I kept adjusting until I found a spot that felt just right and then would really focus on that area. The sweet spot I found was a seam between fast current and bumpy water. I knew that if I hit it right in the middle I would hook a trout, but getting the perfect cast and drift was more difficult than I anticipated. Finally I hit the spot and landed a tiny brown. Although, it was arguably the smallest fish I caught, it was possibly the most satisfying. I learned so much about fly fishing while exploring that part of the river. I realized how important it is to trust your instincts and stick to your gut feelings, but also you should never be too stubborn to change your position or give up on a hole, even if you keep spotting rises.

My second day fishing was a great learning experience. My casting technique improved and I learned a lot about how to read the water. I realized that each spot poses different challenges: a wicked fast current, lots of overhanging branches, murky water, and the fisherman who is able to master every environment and can control the drop of his fly will be the most successful. Getting to know the part of the river you are fishing takes time, and the spot you think will hook the most fish isn’t necessarily going to have the best results.

That night, dancing trout and soaring flies occupied my dreams as I fantasized about my last day on the Owens.