We all live and die, coming into those states of being at some random point along a ridge of happiness or a trough of turmoil. I welcome those down times; bring it on. We should all welcome the inevitable, it makes it more easy to bare. Unfortunately, I all too often treat the up times with shyness, do not take the pleasant points in life lightly, enjoy every miracle of happiness.

Redeeming yourself is the best example of the miracle of happiness. It highlights the fact that just prior to the achievement, was a setback. We have all heard, “if at first you don’t succeed, try again.” My generation would be best to follow, “If you never succeed, keep trying”. I just got a new job, two interviews and a promising lead at a fish hatchery. It only took twenty months and thirty plus job applications. I have to admit though, fixing clocks is the best job I have ever had. I will continue to work on clocks for the rest of my life, hopefully in combination with doing something in my field of ecology and field biology.

With more consistency and predictability, fish are available for catching, even if a job isn’t. If you aren’t catching them and someone else is, it is your fault. If you don’t get a job and someone else does, screw it. To be honest, fish are much, much more important. So much so that fishermen existed before it was a job. That means fishing, for some of us, is our ultimate connection with reality, even if we let some fish go. Perverse? Maybe, but I would argue that the drive to obtain a well paying, full time job is more so.

As a “jack of all trades” I find fly fishing and hunting keep my interest and enthusiasm for two reasons. One, they have unmet challenges, always. Two, it is an instinctually spiritual desire, fulfilled by no amount of beer, entertainment, or superficial achievement. Since I moved out West, I have adopted more of a purist fly fishing mentality, nymphing only when there is no other option. I have never encountered much need, if fish are not rising, a streamer can often get the job done.

And so it was, for the past twenty months I fished, using nymphs only when I had to. It is worth noting that these nymph fly patterns were shunned away to the most crude fly box and difficult location to reach within my fishing vest. It goes without saying that when presented with a new area, my nymphs from back East are not the creme de le creme of patterns for out West. Sure, I’d pick up a fish here and there. Unfortunately, to really get into them and feel like you matched the underwater hatch was not a priority, and therefore never happened. That is, until I put some effort into it.

For the first time in years, since I was on the Davidson River out of Brevard, NC in the Pisgah National forest; I enjoyed nymph fishing. For the first time ever; I was catching big, wild fish, on a big nymph. The San Juan river has some interesting insect life, its silty banks and backwaters hold species adapted to low oxygen and still water environments such as blood midges, annelids, and leeches.

Friday, January 26th, 2013 was an interesting day. Where I was, in the high desert of New Mexico, and an hours drive away from Durango, it was raining like seattle. Where my girlfriend was, in the high alpine of Colorado, a half hours drive away from Durango, it was dumping snow. Navajo Lake was turning over, resulting in more turbid water in the river below the dam. My goal was to hit the river and get some redemption from the previous weekend, where I lost most of my big fish. I was also hoping that the rainy weather would scare off the usual crowd, and the snow would excite all the die hard skiers, which I have come to realize, I am not. While there weren’t nearly as many people that normally show on a Saturday, there were still more than expected. My day was filled with some amazing fishing, and at Baetis Bend I had the river to myself. Though fish were rising to midges and the odd baetis, I mostly fished nymphs, though I gave in to a few nice sized rising trout with some success; the relentless rain really made it difficult to fish with size #22 and smaller dry flies. Which is good, because I was there to learn how to nymph this river.

I have noticed more fisherman in pursuit of the rising trout on the San Juan, I hope that my boasting about dry fly fishing there hasn’t caused that, I’ll write that idea off as a crazy and vain statement. Regardless, I caught some nice fish on leeches and midge larva. A couple, well worth redemption.

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