Dreaming of Salmon? Try Your Backyard
Growing up in East Texas, I dreamed of hooking huge Chinook salmon and trout in the Pacific Northwest. But I had to be content with sunfish, bluegill, catfish, crappie, and the occasional bass. There were no trout, no grayling, no salmon. I had to satisfy my fishing desires with bank fishing under a straw hat.
Fly-fishing brought to mind glorious images of wading a clear stream where colorful, spotted brookies broke the surface for floating mayflies. Oh, to be among the privileged trout and salmon fly-fishing elite!
If you live in an area that's too warm for brook trout, don't despair! In all likelihood, streams and rivers near your home are abundant. Perhaps cool and warm water fill creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes all loaded with wild game fish. You may want to take another look at spots that may have been your favorites in the past.
With just a few tackle and fly modifications, you can catch an amazing variety of fish on flies. In East Texas alone, there are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, bluegill, and at least eight or ten species of sunfish.
John Gierach's View on Fat Trout
This famed sportsman says every fisherman wants to catch big trout. “It seems to me there are two ways to get big trout. One is to spend thousands of dollars to fly into some remote wilderness camp and, once there, do what the guide tells you to do. The other is to fish for big trout close to home. It's an article of faith among anglers that there's always a trout in the water you're fishing that's bigger than the biggest one you have caught so far. As articles of faith go, that's truer than most.”
Farm ponds are everywhere and have a definite place in the world of fishing. Grumping bullfrogs, blue herons, and a variety of ducks and geese that descend here seem only slightly annoyed by the fisherman's presence.
If you miss a strike or lose a bluegill in the farm pond, you'll find it much less important than losing a bonefish, tarpon, muskie, or salmon. The quiet, almost lawn-chair fishing is available in most anyone's backyard, if you take time to look.
Bluegill is a beautiful fish, and the setting is one that only nature can provide. From the quiet lapping of waters against the shoreline to the hapless hopper that an ever-hungry bluegill smacks from the surface, you may find the fishing less intense and the rewards smaller in size, but enjoyment cannot be measured in such a way.
But that's just the beginning. Also waiting to be caught on your flies are drum, sauger, channel catfish, carp, chub, gar, bowfin, freshwater herring, shad, and bullfrogs! What fun! All these species have their own special qualities.
So do yourself a favor this season: Try your flies in your “home” waters. Chances are, you'll find more elbow room, have more success, and perhaps even more fun fly-fishing. You'll definitely be able to get more fishing in!