I grew up close to Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky, and my fishing was focused mostly on striped and largemouth bass, crappie and, from time to time, walleye. I always looked forward to the warmer months of the year when I could go out on the expansive lake with my family and friends to wet a line and tell all the jokes and lies we could think of. Somewhere along the way, I began to get interested in fly fishing for trout in a clear mountain stream. To me fly fishing looked to be the artistic side of fishing and a way to commune with nature in a way that was different from lake fishing.
Here are a few interesting tidbits I picked up as I began my fly fishing experience.
I tried to find a rod and reel that wouldn’t break the bank and wouldn’t fall apart after a year or two. I ended up getting a rod and reel outfit (I don’t remember the name) that cost somewhere around $75. The outfit worked well for me for a couple of years due, in at least some part, to the fact that I spent most of one year practicing on dry land with a dummy fly on the end. By the end of my second season, I’d made enough forward strides and enjoyed it so much, I treated myself to a Silver Ghost outfit I picked up on a trip to Maine at L.L. Bean’s megastore in Freeport. I couldn’t believe the difference in the feel and balance of the Silver Ghost over my beginner rig and my appreciation for the guy who thought up fly fishing just keeps going up by the day.
I started my trout fishing experience below Lake Cumberland’s Wolf Creek Dam where most of the trout are caught on spinners from more conventional rod and reel combos. I enjoyed cutting my teeth there but, I moved to more isolated creeks and rivers like the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and even Elkhorn Creek, parts of which are inside the city limits of Lexington.
Truth be told, I ended up catching more bluegill and smallmouth bass everywhere I went in Kentucky, which was fun but, I wanted to go the traditional trout route so bad I could taste it. I now make several excursions per year up to the Adirondacks and Catskills in Upstate New York and I’ve even dropped in at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor a time or two. My favorite fishing hole is the West Branch of the Ausable River just outside Wilmington, NY in the Adirondacks.
Perseverance is Key
It takes a while to get the timing right when casting with a fly fishing rig but, if you keep at it you’ll be rewarded with the zen effect that only fly fishing on a beautiful piece of rushing water can provide.