The evening pool was flat and smooth above the bridge that spanned the river.
And slowly, dimples, swells and sometimes even splashes began pocking the surface, increasing in frequency as twilight neared.
Visual evidence that trout were “on the feed,” eating insects.
And time for those of us who fish for trout with floating flies to take up the challenge.
The river is peaceful and quiet now, after a busy weekend afternoon of flotillas of kayakers in their brightly colored boats, paddling a bit, but mostly using the river’s gentle current to sweep them serenely downriver.
Kids swim in the river during these hot summer days in the deep pool near the bridges. Their laughter and screams are long gone.
The river is quiet now.
Other species of trout fishers have packed up their gear, usually in the form of small bags and tackle boxes carrying bait such as worms, night crawlers and salted minnows. Or the more popular metal spinners and lures, replicating small fish and crayfish. They’ve gone home too. Some even had lawn chairs and set up small camps as they fished, with a handy stocked cooler within reach.
For most folks now, it’s dinner time, or in the late summer evening, well past it.
Some people may get intimidated and shy away from fly-fishing because it can seem complicated. But it really isn’t.
The same style flies my father successfully used on the river over 75 years ago still work just fine.
I tied up a few the other day and fooled a few upper Genesee River Brown and Rainbow trout.
One of the old classic flies is called the Light Cahill, a light pale ginger fly that replicates a number of aquatic insects which trout gobble like we chow down potato chips while watching a Bills game.
A fly rod and reel setup is very simple.
The reel is not as complicated as a bait caster that needs to be tuned depending upon the weight of the lure. And there is no bail to flip over like on a spin-cast reel.
Just a no-nonsense reel that winds up fly line and a monofilament leader.
We just flick the fly-line back and forth and toss out the fly, actually casting the heavier line and the mono follows, unfolding with the fly on the end sitting on the water.
Most fly lines float slowly with the current after the cast.
The fly of choice to entice the fish is on the end of the mono leader.
We toss the fly, just a bit above a feeding trout, so it will float right down the toothy critter’s cafeteria lane.
It’s fun to watch the fish rise and gobble down the fly.
A slight rise of the fly rod usually sets the hook, so the fight is on.
Trout run up and down their watery hangouts for a bit when hooked, but soon give up the ghost and can eventually be reeled in to be either taken home for dinner or quickly released back into the stream.
Some people that would like to try fly-fishing have never had the opportunity to be mentored how to fly-fish.
Nowadays, with the internet and sites such as Youtube, excellent fly-fishing lessons and all the information needed and more are but a click away on the smart phone, computer screen, or streaming TV.
There are fly-fishing schools and classes given by experts too, also of course easily found online.
However, trout can be fussy eaters.
Good thing I wasn’t born a trout, I would have been quickly caught because I like to eat everything.
Often, not all the time, but too frequently trout are finicky, turning their noses up when my best attempts at finely tied flies float over their dinner table.
And Mr. Trout bulges the surface of the river after my ignored fly has floated past, gobbling down a natural bug instead.
Hmmm. Must have on the wrong fly.
Try a smaller size, a larger size, a slightly different shade or color.
On and on, as we try to “match the hatch” of insects … all in an attempt to entice a fish that is acting as if the breakfast egg wasn’t cooked “just right.” The yolk was overcooked and hard, or too underdone and watery.
Fussy customers of a serenely flowing river.
— Oak Duke writes a weekly column.