The week of the July Fourth holiday saw a lot of anglers on the rivers and lakes around Cody. Temperatures were especially pleasant for a day on the water. Family and friends consumed my time this past holiday and weekend, and fishing was a big part of our recreational pursuits when not attending a parade or rodeo.
My granddaughter is finally at the age to begin her fly fishing education. When she was younger, she and I would spin fish together on local lakes where she could catch a fish on practically every cast with me being her net man and fishing coach. She wasn’t into putting a worm or bait on a hook, so we used spinners and she learned pretty quickly how the fish liked each lure to be presented. That was at Beck Lake or New Cody reservoirs, both perfect for keeping a youngster occupied without her becoming bored when the bite would slow down.
Because the rivers and streams are still too swift to safely wade fish for a youngster, my granddaughter, her mother and myself again went to a local lake to spend some quality time to learn the tempo for casting a fly line through the air, (a totally different casting technique than when spin fishing), present a fly to trout properly and land a fish quickly when using a single-action fly reel.
Once her casting became better and the fly was landing in the water and not snagging grass, bushes or Grandpa on the backcast, she and I began to fish with a dry fly since the trout were rising and in a good mood thanks to the cool, cloudy weather. Like most youngsters, she had a million questions that needed answered while applying her newly learned skills. Thankfully the trout were very accommodating and began taking her dry fly, a Goddard caddis, right away.
The first several trout were escapees. In other words, they were barely hooked since the term “setting the hook” was unfamiliar to her initially. While a trout or panfish will hit a spinner and set the hook for you most of the time, fishing with a fly requires the angler to do that part whenever a trout rises to take the fly. Once she understood that she had to keep a tight line and raise her fly rod quickly in order for her barbless hook to insert itself into the mouth area of the trout, the game was on the rest of the time we spent fishing.
It also helped to see her mother catching trout and putting them in the net for a quick photo and release. Without bragging too much on either of my two fishing companions, especially my granddaughter, I will say we put a lot of nice trout into the net before our day on the lake was done. The trout we were fishing for were mostly large due to the food source in the lake we chose to fish. If we could average the trout, I would say most were 19 inches in length and weighed several pounds.
My daughter hooked and landed half a dozen cutthroat, the same number of rainbows, missed several brown trout and then, hooked and landed a fat tiger trout, a cross between a brown and brook trout, when she wasn’t encouraging my granddaughter in her fly fishing endeavors. The size of these trout ended up fatiguing my granddaughter’s arm after landing several in the 18-21 inch range. However, she was more than happy to be the netter for her mother while giving her arm a rest before tackling the casting, hooking and landing again.
When we rowed the boat back to the boat dock to load up after a great day on the water, the first question from both was, “When can we do this again?” I have to say, the grins and enthusiasm, along with my daughter’s, warmed this Dad and Grandpa’s heart. It felt good to know there are two more generations of anglers to pass down the tradition of fishing together as a family. I look forward to more time fishing real soon.