Dry Fly Fantasies

For the Capital City Weekly

There were trout, but they were following steelhead waiting for eggs or feasting on newly emerged salmon fry.

I put on a No. 16 elk hair caddis because I was determined to catch a trout on a dry fly for the first time this year. I proceeded to catch zero fish.

I wasn’t surprised, but I was a little disappointed both in my decision to clearly ignore what I knew was the best method to catch a trout that day and by the defiance displayed by the trout. After all, I don’t just eat cake on my birthday. I’ll eat it any month of the year whether it’s my birthday or not. Why can’t trout take a similar approach? Now that I think about it, a salmon egg is probably more an equivalent to birthday cake than a bug with wings, but whatever.

I wanted to catch trout with a dry fly, because on that day it was the most fun method I could think of to catch a fish. It’s impossible to measure the most fun way to catch a fish overall because the variances in styles. Catching a steelhead swinging a fly is not at all like watching a cutthroat surface, mouth open, to take a dry fly. Both are nothing like being seven reels into retrieving a herring plug and having it crushed by a king salmon. Which is better? Does it matter?
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