Sunday, 4 October 2015

Trout Surprise

I'm back in the USA visiting someone I know in Twin Falls, Idaho before moving on to New Zealand later this month. The 'city' of 45,000 people - it really doesn't take much to obtain city status in the U.S. it seems - is located on the crest of the spectacular Snake River canyon in the semi arid southern half of the state. As its name suggests, a couple of picturesque waterfalls cut through the canyon in the vicinity of the city. It's hot and dry here, and mostly flat. The land bordering the city is somewhat bleak and lunar-esque (the stark Craters of the Moon National Preserve is not very far away in south central Idaho). There is nothing to suggest the presence of trout, not even a dedicated fly store which is rare for Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Until today I thought a drive north for at least an hour was needed to find trout.

The Springboks had just beaten Scotland in the Rugby World Cup, convincingly too, and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and feel good factor by walking a trail through a park not 100 metres from my motel. I descended the path to the river basin and left behind the sounds of the city. Being a fly fisherman of course I had to check out the river and this is when I spied a feeding fish in the murky green water. I watched it for a while and it was unmistakably a trout by its shape and the way it moved. I couldn't just leave a feeding trout to its own devices, especially one chanced upon completely unexpectedly, so I popped back to my motel and fetched out my rod and reel and camera.  

The trout tracked my dry fly several times and even mouthed it gently once before darting away into the depths, clearly unimpressed by the unwelcome texture of feather and deer hair. It ignored a streamer but eventually took a small unweighted pheasant tail nymph suspended below my dry fly. It was a little brown trout.

I recently purchased a waterproof Nikon AW130 and this was its first trial. Taking underwater shots seemed a bit hit and miss and the murky water and shaded tree canopy didn't exactly lend itself to great underwater photography. I think I still got a couple of interesting shots for a first effort with a waterproof compact.

Finding trout where you don't expect them is always a pleasant surprise, like finding a $10 note on the street or cracking open an egg and getting two yolks for the price of one. To discover that the city I am visiting has trout existing in its very heart makes the experience even more rewarding, and not simply because of the obvious recreational boon. My deeper underlying positive feeling is perhaps too esoteric a concept for anyone who is not a fellow trout nut to truly comprehend. People who own pets are supposedly happier. My fix comes from knowing there are trout in the waters that flow through my daily life, for they are pure and healthy refuges and places of innocent, carefree pursuit.

I can see myself spending more time in the park in the coming evenings, looking for signs of trout in the green water.

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