By Anthony Surage
Sometimes a man has to just keep walking. Such was the case when I found myself on the "Dream Stream" section of the South Platte River in South Park. I had to keep walking along the meanders on down toward 11 mile reservoir looking for a hole or run to fish in between the crowds. I carried 2 rods rigged and ready, in case I found an opening; in case I spotted a big fish. However, I never saw a big fish. I never found a good run. With the Platte flowing at a trickle of 50 cfs. I simply could not find good holding water that was not already occupied. Fly fishers were holding tight to whatever water they could find and were not budging.
At the mouth to 11 mile reservoir, I turned around, and started walking back up the river. I did see some small fish in marginal thin water, but I kept walking. I did not make a single cast. I was not interested in casting to small fish. This is the dream stream, home to big trout and I had big fish on the brain. It was I who was being as selective as big fish can sometimes act.
When stalking big fish it helps to have this mind set of refusing to cast to smaller fish. It helps if you can be willing to catch nothing in hope of waiting for that one big fish. Why fool around with little fish and waste time? Better to just keep walking. Better to just keep searching.
However, it takes a certain kind of nerve to report back to your friends that you caught nothing. It takes a certain kind of nerve to be ok within one's self with not catching a fish. How much easier it is on the ego to at least be able to say, "I got a few small ones." Yet, this is what the big fish hunter must be willing to do. You have to be willing to "get skunked".
This is why it is better to go alone when fishing for big game. When you go with others we often get wrapped up in the need to catch something as we forever try to measure up to one another. We can become desperate and focus on catching something; anything, so we do not look bad. Have we not all felt this way while fishing in a group? We start thinking, "I can't be the only one who did not catch a thing." Or, maybe the people we are fishing with have not caught anything and now we have to help them. Better to stalk big fish alone unconcerned.
This is why it is even better to not tell anyone you are going. When your friends and family know you are fishing you then have to "give a report," of how the fishing went. In some sense that fishing report you know you have to give makes you not alone. While you are fishing you are already writing the fishing report in your head and that report will influence how you fish. On the other hand, to tell no one you have gone, is to truly fish alone and be free from their influence and the pressures we place upon ourselves and our egos.
This is why I was free to just keep walking the Dream Stream. I was alone and I had told no one. I was able to keep walking and willing to hold out for what I was truly seeking. If need be, I was willing to get skunked for that cause. I was willing to keep walking with knowing I might be getting skunked. I was willing to not even make a single cast until I found a run that might hold a big fish.
It was then, when I was just about all the way back to the parking lot, that 3 gentlemen left the gauging station hole just below the county road bridge. I stepped in the tail out of the hole after taking a two hour walk. I guess that was all I had done for the past two hours. I had gone for a nice walk along the Dream Stream looking for fish that live in my dreams. No one was with me. No one knew I had even gone. I was free to not catch a fish and I did not have to report to anyone.I did not even have to make a single cast.
It was in that freedom that I made my first cast of the morning. It was in that deep, dark, and mysterious hole that the big Brown took the small red midge.
I was alone. I had told no one. There was no need to catch anything at all. I just wanted to go for a walk and day dream of big fish and sometimes, even in dream we feel the pull of a great fish.
I found what I was looking for by just walking.