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Fishing & Hunting The Fishing & Hunting forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to wilderness fishing and hunting with an emphasis on engaging in these activities while on backpacking trips. Lightweight/packable gear, personal experience/technique, and trip reports are of central focus. [Reminder: PBF is for actual content, not links/reference to offsite content.]

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Old 10-21-2013, 11:27 AM
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Balzaccom Balzaccom is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 188
How many flies?

I love fly fishing, and one of the great delights of backpacking can be found in a quiet backcountry lake that hasn't seen a fisherman in days, months, or years. It's peaceful, the fish are hungry, and I have a ball.

I don't take a lot of equipment, both because I don't see the need, and I don't want to carry the weight. I just take a 7 piece fly rod that fits inside my pack, a reel with floating line, a few extra leaders, and a small selection of flies.

And I almost always catch fish. I've been doing this for more than fifty years now, and I've learned enough to be pretty successful. That's a photo of me fishing Lower McCabe Lake this summer at sunset.

But at two different high country lakes this summer, PIran into some recalcitrant fish. The first was at Return Lake, well off-trail in Virginia Canyon in northeastern Yosemite. The fish were rising, I was casting, but they weren't interested in what I had on the end of my line. I usually fish a small elk hair caddis fly, and it works just about all the time.

But this time, the fish were taking something much smaller. They would rise right up to my fly, take a careful look, and then decide that they really didn't want caddis for dinner.

Hmmph. Oh well. It was still a beautiful day on the lake. You can see why in the picture at left.

And then it happened again, this time at one the lakes in the Ten Lake Basin.

My first cast landed a beautiful 10-11 inch rainbow, and I could see many other fish in the lake. So I cast and cast....and never got another fish. Again, they were rising, and they would look at my fly, but they were not interested in the caddis. Maybe the first fish had spread the word.

Maybe not.

Yeah, I could have tried another fly. But I guessed that they were eating midges, and I didn't really have any of those in my fly box. So I practiced casting for a while longer, and then called it a day.

Since I wasn't catching fish, I stopped to take the photo at right. It was a pretty great place to fish, catching or not.

And I still have fond memories of the experience.
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