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 Post subject: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 21st, 2017, 3:00 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3912
Location: Ellsworth
.....at the age some of us......truth be told, probably most of us........are now at, we (read I) simply can’t do what we (I) did 40 years ago.

I was on a very difficult to wade river all this last week. In my 20’s I waded that river without a staff at water levels a thousand fps higher than it was last week......and never thought twice about it.

Last week it was at a very wadeable level......and virtually every angler I saw was toting......And using..... a wading staff. Most of us also were toting gray hair under our hats......that is, if we had any hair left at all.

I met a few fishermen that I’ve known for the last 40 years.......we’ve all been active in various TU chapters over that time, and we all were reminiscing about days where we fished hard all day without having to take breaks to rest our backs, or wading with staffs.

Many of my friends fish Montana Rivers that I hate to fish.......simply because I no longer wade well enough to fish them well. Most of the guys on our regular Western Trip fish the Southest Branch of the Northwest River ( not its real name, obviously), and I almost never do any more.......simply because it’s beyond my ability to navigate it properly.......and breaking an arm.....or leg.....would really put a helluva damper on the trip.

I did fairly well on last weeks trip. Not “June well”, but well for Fall. We caught more Brook Trout than Landlocks......and I go there for the Landlocks. We caught mostly hook jawed males for the LL’s....with a few hens thrown in for good measure. The bigger fish seemed to be still downriver. I didn’t take a trout or LL over 18”......but that’s still a very decent Fall fish.

The hatches were non-existent. A few of the Acentrellas were dribbling off, but nothing was on them. Cream Midges in the morning, and the Brook Trout were sipping them......but nothing to get too excited about. This Fall has still been too damn hot. It’s 76* as I type this on Oct. 21st. Crazy......

My “go to” rig was a large (size 8) Black Jumbo John Stone nymph trailed by a #20 bh PT. Interestingly.......the Brook Trout preferred the PT.......while the LL’s preferred the Stone.......with Orange and Black rubber legs.

I tried various and sundry streamers.......which it seemed most fifers were using, and didn’t take a trout of LL on them. Every fish I caught all week was on the nymphs.

I’d still love to drift Solon in the next ten days bank banging Streamers because that shuts down quick. GLS is already down. Our options for fall fishing are closing quickly. :-(

I did see a very interesting wildlife sighting for three days running. A large river Otter came out to play in the run right where I was fishing. It did shut off the Fishing, but it was neat as heck to watch it fish. No Moose or Deer sightings.

There are, IMO, just too many drift boats and rafts pounding that short stretch of river. Six to eight every day on a river three miles long. This ain’t the Missouri or the Big Horn that can take that kind of pressure.

Get out there if you can......winter is long and a lot of you don’t enjoy tying as much as I do. (Grin).

Dave M

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2017, 9:50 pm 
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Joined: October 3rd, 2017, 4:01 am
Posts: 16
Location: Tampa, Florida
Thanks for sharing, Dave! This was really insightful. :)


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2017, 6:51 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: April 1st, 2010, 10:35 am
Posts: 242
Location: flatland and Vienna Me.
Dave as good as retirement is it's tough getting old!! Some days I leave the wading staff in the truck and then when I get out in the river I kick my as#. My wife tells me I'm stubborn, and sometimes I have to agree.


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2017, 8:15 am 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 1208
Location: Bangor
I have a scar on my wrist from eight stitches picked up while wading that river. Although I'm a bit younger, I have a very bad hip and have to have my staff out, always. The Southeast Branch of the Northeast River is some of the most difficult wading I have encountered anywhere and I believe it is worse with the lower water levels.


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2017, 10:31 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: July 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm
Posts: 753
Location: Brunswick
I do see more people using staffs now then even 2 or 3 years ago, myself included. I'm still young, 31, and have been using a staff ever single time I wade for 2.5 years. I've yet to go for a swim... came pretty close once or twice, but I still tend to take a hard fall 2 or 3 times a year, even using a staff. I've been lucky to not break anything, on me or my gear.

A few weeks ago I saw an older gentleman, I'd guess mid 70s, wading and he fell. I was on the opposite side of the river and as soon as I realized he was down I started yelling over asking if he was ok and if he needed help. I stated reeling in planning on wading across to help him. He said he was fine and picked himself up before I could get near him. This was a Thursday and he was having a hip replacement on Monday. I still don't know how he made it down, and back up, the steep, slippery slope down to the river. What I do know is I want to be that guy some day, fishing untill I can't walk anymore, whatever it takes to get me in the river and over fish.


Peter

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"A good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once"
Lee Wulff


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 7:28 am 
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FFIMer

Joined: February 13th, 2008, 2:08 pm
Posts: 229
I waded that same river this past weekend for the first time ever.......I was amazed to see many many people wading around flailing like a moron with no staff. Saw one young guy go down(and back up quickly)........Oh to be 25 again.
My feet don't hit the water without my staff, and when guiding I insist my guests do the same. I don't need to lose time with falls, or worse yet have one of my guests get hurt.
When fishing with much older or physically challenged guests, I give them two staffs(one for each hand) and tote their rods for them........Allows me to still access those tougher to get to spots with less worry.


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 8:20 am 
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FFIM-aholic

Joined: August 28th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 1279
Location: Standish, ME
The only place I go without my staff is the beach, where there is ZERO chance I'm going to be on rocks. I used to be able to dance across rivers - those days are LONG GONE!


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 4:36 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5147
Location: Near the tying bench
Dave M- check your PM's.

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"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 5:48 pm 
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FFIM-aholic
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Joined: February 11th, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 1510
Location: Dayton, Maine
Reaching the 60 threshold has my fishing slowing down.

10-15 years back I was on the water a minimum of 40 days a year, usually much more. Sunrise to way past sunset. I'd think nothing of driving 3 hours one way for a days fishing all day then drive back & ready for the next day. Now...... I'll still get up early, but I take it easy during the day & take numerous breaks. I just can't commando anymore. If I try it takes the next week to recover! Fine example was last summer....took a week at my favorite NW area. Didn't even touch my rod til Thursday. No urge. I felt more productive tending the fire and consuming adult beverages. Part of it has to do with the physical l work I do and it's catching up with my body. Bad shoulder, knee, not to mention my friend Arthur Itis. Sucks getting old..... But the time I do get on the water is definitely apreciated more!

Life seems to get more in the way, too. Young dog, grand kids, motorcycle, guitars, new house all seem to consume massive amounts of time that require time away from the water.
I don't put my wading belt on without a staff attached & have been doing so for at least the last 15 years or so. It doesn't matter if it's rocks or sand....I want to stay upright! Seems whenever I didn't use it, I took a digger.

All that being said, hoping to get more time next season on the water!

Just a thought.....maybe we can start a FFIM Home for the Aged Flyfisherman :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 6:38 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 3912
Location: Ellsworth
Hunter wrote:
Dave M- check your PM's.


Done

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 24th, 2017, 7:30 pm 
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Joined: September 28th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 2518
Yes it does suck getting old. I recently fished the E. Outlet and at times felt more like a lumbering ballerina on a greased ice rink. I did go back to my car and get my wading staff after having tweaked my back trying to start fishing then shuffling back to my car. Having my staff on me and using it are two different directions. I can't stand having it hanging getting hung up, or my line tangled in it. Usually after getting to a spot I fold it back and holster it. A lot of extra work I know but I'm quirky that way.

The other reality for me is, and this is the first year I've had this feeling. I'm not into fishing with wicked low water levels. I slowly over the years got so I enjoyed the higher flows we were experiencing a couple years ago on the Farmington. I haven't fished for three weeks since last being on the EO. The water level is way to low. Temps are fine, the fish are doing fine, but the flow and I just aren't enjoying each other. Maybe after the rain the next couple of days, but I see that as just a short time fix until we can get steady rains for days on end.

Ron

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The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of something that is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.

Sir John Buchan


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 25th, 2017, 5:40 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 1:00 am
Posts: 502
Location: maine; now Salida, CO
With all of my knee surgeries and the ensuing nerve damage I've used a wading staff for probably 12-15 years now. No feeling in the bottom of my right foot. Makes wading a "challenge" at times. :wink:
Quote:
I can't stand having it hanging getting hung up, or my line tangled in it. Usually after getting to a spot I fold it back and holster it. A lot of extra work I know but I'm quirky that way.
Me too. Holstering it also prevents me from cheating away from the spot without re-deploying it. Two weeks ago I was at #9 pool on the Madison in YNP. Holy crap was that slippery at the top of the hole. And this was with brand new wading boots! My staff is always attached to my belt. Unless I'm float fishing. :)


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 Post subject: Re: A new reality.......
PostPosted: October 25th, 2017, 7:32 pm 
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Joined: April 27th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 748
I split my time fishing from a boat and wading. Wading hurts a lot more!


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