New Water, New Opportunity
New water. Favorite words, or dreaded challenge? For this fly angler there is magic in discovery. Exploring a new river, new to me that is, counts high on my adventure scale. I'll rarely pass up the opportunity.
With the adventure comes responsibility. If the trip includes floating then there is data to acquire. Locations for put in and take out need to be confirmed. I personally like to drive the length of the float and stand at the take out so I recognize it from the water. I have a habit of squeezing every drop of light and water out of a float trip so visual identification has proven helpful. I've also dropped the ball more than once in getting ALL the info I needed before launching. There's a rapid on the Klickitat called "Humpty Dumpty" that's well known but was a complete surprise to me. Without the advice of another oarsman a short distance above it, things could have easily gone very badly for me there. As it turns out I gained several IQ points and a new appreciation for my rowing skills.
As important as these things are they pale in comparison to learning how to fish new water. Hatches and features like which bank is shaded, which eddies fish prefer to pod up in are just a sliver of the joy of discovery in new water. One strong example that comes to mind is a particular river I fished for some time before a local showed me to fish further from the bank for more consistent success. All other rivers I fished were quite the opposite. I frequently hear other anglers complain of limited success when trying new water. Techniques used elsewhere may not be the ticket at this unfamiliar location and that's where the fun is, learning how this new water fishes.
Do the diligence, visit the local fly shop, hire a guide, befriend a local. Then with abandon, explore !!!
- Jake Hood
Lead Spokane River Guide