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A day on the Big River.

Posted on May 23 2017

To me the Big River is a special place.  Parts of it go through remote areas where seeing bears, rattle snakes, eagles and deer are as likely as not.  It can be intimidating to wade anglers and often times being able to reach a rising fish tests your courage, and both your wading and casting ability.  It is the reason I fly fish.

Sadly, drift boats have changed the experience of fishing the big river for every one.  Those in a drift boat have little to fear from rattle snakes, bears are just another photo op and the depth of the water and strength of the current never enter into the equation when casting to a rising fish from the bow of a drift boat.

The wade angler who makes the long walk along the railroad tracks to his favorite spot now faces the distinct possibility that three drift boats will already be anchored there.

This year the big river has been too high to safely wade until just the past few days.  Hendricksons, apple caddis and grannoms have come and gone.  The river has been in the doldrums but its almost time for green drakes, march browns have been seen for the last ten days , sulfurs are over due.  You don't know if you don't go.

So today I went.  There were enough trailers at Buckingham to let me know that if I wanted peace and quiet it would have to be further downstream. I fished from 1:30 until 8:45.  I saw three boats and five wade fisherman. There were lots of different kinds of bugs, just not big numbers of any of them.  There were rising fish, just not enough bugs to keep them up and feeding.  If you were able to mark a riser and get close enough to make a cast, most times you at least got a look.  Was I able to catch some fish?  Yes.  Did I have an enjoyable day?  The best.  Was I happy to spend a day fishing the Big River in today's version of complete solitude? I'll be back there tomorrow!


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