This time of year, during a snowstorm with the wood stove stoking, poker chips, and cards on the table, outdoor sportsmen gather for a cold beer on a cold night. Their stories begin; this is one such episode.
On cold winter nights when fly fishing enthusiasts begin dreaming of the Hexagenia hatch, past experiences become enhanced. Large Brown Trout caught during this period seem to get bigger every year, with every retelling of that night on the river. I am one of the guilty.
Novice fly fishing people hear these stories and come to me saying..."Hey I'd like to try that". One such person tells me that his wife will be visiting her sister and can he and his son give it a try. Whew, this ought to be good. It is hard to explain to them the science of such a trip. I guess a good analogy would be...if you have never golfed before what are your chances of shooting par for the course! I try to give them the odds. Is there a hex hatch? Is your cast reliable in the dark? Bad cast and your chances are 1 in a million. Still I'm not a judge, but rather a guide. I can get the customer in a spot were a hatch will take place. A flat, slow flowing pool that is prime, but on any specific night - good luck.
I took a father and son on such a trip. It had all the makings of a beautiful hatch night...minus the hatch. The upside was the father and son interaction was priceless. there were some early evening small Browns, but the big Brown slurping just wasn't going to happen. This was a wonderful night, just without the hatch. The boy was about 12 years of age and he and his father will enjoy the memory of the trip forever. That was also my reward. Getting on the river at the right time, with the right weather, and a full blown hatch...now that takes committed dedication and not a one shot deal.
The funniest event of that evening is hard to believe. As we slipped into the river, standing in the stream, in the dark with only the moon's silver sky reflection on the river, there was a loud ker-splash. "What was that", they asked? A beaver I replied . Oh, we thought it was a meteor. A meteor, hitting the river just feet away? That would be 1 in a trillion...about the same odds as them catching the elusive, night stalking, monster Brown trout on this night.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings