Ten things I love about you, Trout Edition

  1. You were my first love. When I came to fly fishing, it was trout I encountered, pursued and caught. They changed my life.
  2. Wading a river. I love getting in a river, walking around, getting to know it. I call these kinds of rivers intimate rivers. I’d rather fish an intimate river than any other kind.

    The McCloud... Upstate California, from a trip in 2011.

    The McCloud… Upstate California, from a trip in 2011.

  3. Fly Shops. I’m talking about the good ones. A shop where you are greeted when you walk in, if you are a stranger or a regular. You can always get some good advice and a bit of conversation. They have what you need and don’t try to sell you anything you don’t. I love those places and try to give them business whenever I can.

    An institution in Dunsmuir.

    An institution in Dunsmuir.

  4. Small trout. Small trout are simply beautiful creatures, so finely painted and adorned. They are one of Nature’s masterpieces.

    Tiny and wonderful.

    Tiny and wonderful.

  5. Bad weather. When the rain rolls in the fishing doesn’t stop. In fact, it is one of my favorite times to be out there. It feels like you earn it more when you are out in the soup and everyone else is off the water.
  6. The ritual of it. Cast. Drift. Step. Cast. Drift. Step. It is a wonderful cadence and it pushes everything else from your mind.
  7. Dry flies. Watching a fish gently rise off the bottom of a river and sip your dry fly off the surface is just a fantastic sight.
  8. That one fish. Trout fishing gives you a chance to work on one fish for an hour and to finally catch it. That’s a pretty satisfying thing when it all comes together.
  9. The Puzzle. You can catch a trout with a dry fly, a nymph, a swinging wet fly or a streamer. Should you fish dry/dropper or nymph and if you nymph how deep, how many split shot and what set up? There are so many variables and in trout fishing you get to put them all into your mental matrix and try and figure out the right answer. Every day on a trout stream is trying to solve a puzzle.

    That should do the trick...

    That should do the trick…

  10. Getting geared up. I love all the gear. I love my 5 different boots in the garage, my chest pack, my wading staff, my waders. I love the fly boxes and nippers and all the bits and pieces that fill up the back of your car. I love the 5 different rods I have in the garage which I could use to pursue trout. I love the simplicity of the gear too… how I can head out to wet wade with only a few flies and split shot too. There is so much gear around and everyone had an opinion on it, strong feelings and everyone can be right for what works best for them, for how they fish, for how they move in, on or through a river.



  1. Once again, I agree with it all. I especially like wading wet in the summer. The water feels cool on a warm day. The smell of the pine trees in summer, and the leaves in the fall. Wading or climbing boulders to get to that hole that is seldom fished. I love swinging flies to trout and steelhead. Little soft hackles swimming just under the surface will sometimes fool big trout that have been hammered by too many dead drifted nymphs and dries. And there’s nothing quite like skating big dries for summer and fall steehead.

  2. Great article/blog – Trout was my first love, just got back from fishing some high mountain lake, those fish are hungry! They know there is not too much time left before winter, and pound for pound they are aggressive fliers. The only problem I have is that stupid Trout set. BAD habit when fishing bones. “Keep the rod tip down stupid” I hear the guide say. Usually have to miss 3-4 before I remember to line set!
    I agree with Mark Davis I love wading wet. The cold water, the smells, the scenery. I don’t even think I knew there were such things as waders until I was over 20. Just short pants and an old pair of tennis shoes, and a hand me down bamboo rod.

  3. That is a deep sinking rig-must be fast water!

  4. Well played sir, well played!
    The only thing I would add is the nose. It’s like a tail, but it will stay in one spot. Imagine if bonefish would stick around for an hour while you work on catching them.
    That nose poking out of an oily slick creates a direct link to my adrenal gland. It’s visceral… I see it, then I feel it.
    Then I start to talk to myself. I tell myself to relax, take it slow and don’t do anything stupid… it’s like seeing a beautiful woman and deciding to try and talk with her.

  5. #2 & #4, Amen! Great top 10. Can relate to many of those listed above.

  6. Trout are magical… just as simple as that.

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