A lack of local knowledge

There’s not much that can substitute for local knowledge. That point was driven home over the weekend when my fishing plans went all pear-shaped.

I had planned to go fish the McCloud for the season closer, but got concerned the winter storm warning would shut the pass I needed to cross and generally prevent getting there, as well as maybe resulting in the three of us having a pretty rough day on the water.

The plan was altered. We decided to float the Lower Sac instead. Weather looked decent and so we made a go of it.

Here’s the thing… while I’ve fished that river many, many times, I don’t fish it often. This was my first day on that river this year. I know it enough to have a “Plan A” but not well enough to have a “Plan B.”

Plan A didn’t work. We managed ONE FISH between the three of us (I caught it in the first hour and we didn’t touch a fish after that). It was my buddy John’s first time getting skunked on a float trip on that river in 20 years.

Our guide sucked. I was our guide.

If I had fished the river 40 times this year, I bet I’d have had a better idea where to set up the raft at those flows and what flies we should have cycled through. But… well… that’s not the life I have. The opportunity cost of living the good and fulfilling life I have in this place is losing that local knowledge. Maybe we still would have headed to the Mac if I was more in touch with what was happening or maybe we would have had a better third or fourth option.

My friend Shane was guiding a slightly lower section of river on that same day. They boated just shy of 20 fish. Shane knows the river. That’s the difference between knowing a place and having a casual acquaintance with it.

It was good to share the water with friends, but I refuse to say the fishing was good and the catching was bad, because every time someone says that a trout loses its spots.

The raft. She’s a good raft. I like her. I’ll keep her around.
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  1. Best line of the article… “Our guide sucked. I was our guide.”


  2. If doing yourself is how you play then that’s what you get! Glad you know where not to fish next time. Glad you got out and played it safe with the weather. Makes the big days even better. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sad but true!

  4. yeah, ya know most of that water up there I don’t need a guide for. Heck, I’ve guided some of that water and have hundreds or thousands of hours on some of that water… but floating the Lower Sac is different… you can fish it at 5,000 and 30,000 in different seasons and weather and the variables are too many (that’s what I’m telling myself to make me feel better).

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