As a teenager in the 70’s, [ my God, I can hear my bones creak just writing that ] one of my favorite shows on the Idiot Box was Kung Fu, starring David Carradine. The most memorable character was the old blind Master Po, who in the first episode held out his hand containing three pebbles to the young Carradine. ‘When you can take the pebbles from my hand, it will be time for you to leave,’ he said. No matter how many times he tried, the Old Master was too quick for Grasshopper. It took him many years to realize that youth and speed were no match for patience, intuition and guile.
These thoughts were floating through my mind as I floated through town the other morning with Gary and Elaine. These guys are living proof that being from Boulder does not automatically qualify you for the lunatic fringe. After an hour or so of fruitless fishing, the words of the Old Master came to my ears. ‘ But Master, what shall I use instead of pebbles?’ I silently inquired. ‘Look deep within the cooler.’ came the reply. Of course – Tecate! How could I have been so blind and novice like. No sense in using all the water up while the fish obviously had no intention of feeding.
And so we pulled over to the side of the, popped the top off a cold one, and discussed all that was wrong in the world, from predatory multinationals to overpaid sports stars who think the world owes them a living, to endless staff meetings. There is something decadent about a mild beer buzz in the morning. Strangely enough, after our riverside time out, the fish were ready for us and we started to catch them, if not in abundance, at least with regularity. If you pay attention to the river, hopefully you realize that when you fish you are delving into rhythms and cycles of nature that you really have no understanding of and can only speculate upon. We have theories and science, but ultimately it is Mother Nature who controls the on / off switch. And that is the way it should be.
It proved to be a little too early yet for the fish to be chasing streamers. It is usually earlier on the summer when the river is still high and the fish hungry, or later in the fall when the spawn is approaching, and prior to the deathly serious business of procreating, , the males are strutting their stuff, puffing and preening in a effort to catch the eye of the chicks. A dry / dropper combo worked best for us as the day progressed. A decent number of fish were still looking up and taking dries, but the nymph worked the best. The river level has dropped considerably over the last week or so. This seems to have seen the fish move off the edges to seek out the slightly deeper water in the trenches and drop offs. As the nights grow cooler and the days shorter, I would expect to see the window of opportunity to cast to feeding fish shorten also, but as they fatten for the spawn they should still feed aggressively when they do.