Sanctuary on the water
Ryan Summerlin July 6, 2014
It’s often said that it’s not the fishing, or even the fish, that you remember after a fishing outing, but rather the events, travels and misfortunes that surround the outing.
I look forward to summers all fall, winter and spring; the hot, bright sun, the long days, and for me, the blanketing hatches of green drakes, caddis and rusty spinners in the evening.
Though working in a bustling fly shop during peak season is exciting and fun, talking about fishing for 12 hours a day can wear on you a little, and the only thing that makes me (and others like me) better, is the act of actually going fishing.
It continues to amaze me how soothing and calming the effects of rivers and other bodies of water are, allowing me to decompress while I receive a renewal of life, mind, body and soul.
I’ve come up with a term that describes this feeling and activity well — “washing the shop off.”
Every summer I slip back into a routine.
I work the fly shop all day and then immediately head home and change into my permanently dirty fishing clothes, grab my lucky hat and head straight out onto the river until dark.
Evening hatches around here are fairly predictable and I have learned to get by with the absolute essentials; floatant, nippers, a spool of tippet and a puck of green drakes and caddis stuffed into a single shirt pocket is all that I require.
Of course, all of these items are kept in my truck on a permanent basis, right next to my favorite 3-weight, dry-fly rod.
After the hatches and rising fish slip into the wee hours of night, I’m finally starving enough (and tired enough) that it’s time to leave the river for a quick dinner of fast food or gas station snacks, after which I pass out, sleep soundly, and do it all over again.
My house is often a mess with dirty dishes, piles of laundry, stacks of bills that need to be paid, a lawn that needs to be mowed and other “less important” burdens that take a back seat until fall.
The time to fish is now, and I take full advantage of it.
Fishing every day keeps me in tune with the fish, so much so that at times I feel like I’m part of their world — not as an intruder but as a fellow comrade.
My evening outings begin to blend together where I can’t decipher or remember things as exactly they happened.
For instance, in all of my fishing that’s taken place over the past few weeks, the one thing that I can fondly remember is the night that I saw lightning bugs on the lower Roaring Fork River after an epic caddis hatch.
In all of my time spent fishing and traveling throughout our valley over the years, I have never seen or come across lightning bugs.
I can’t tell you how many fish we caught, or even how big they were, but what I can remember were those flickering lightning bugs.
In years down the road, we can now say to each other, “Remember that night we hit the caddis on the Roaring Fork and saw lightning bugs?”
God bless summer.
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.