Jan-Apr 2012: Tacos, Tequila and Steelhead

Without getting into any of the gory details, the last couple of months of 2011 were not the best. It seemed that, not only just for me, but for other dear friends too, that things just kind of fell apart in November and December. So the start of 2012 was almost a relief, a huge "thank goodness that's over, now we can try to move forward". I kind of laid low for the first few weeks of January, fished a little, lost a beauty little chrome steelhead on the Vedder. And January isn't exactly the easiest time to catch fish on the fly out there.
Ape and I setting up her booth at the Fly Expo 

April had asked me to help her out at her booth at the Western Canadian Fly Fishing Exposition in Calgary, so we carpooled with Greg and drove out towards the end of January. I don't know about you, but I love trade shows, particularily when I actually get the chance to check out the show and do some socializing. The people are one of the biggest reasons why I love working in the fly fishing industry, and there's something about shows, maybe its the absolute exhaustion combined with a wee little bit of alcohol, that creates a sense of family. The show went by fast, as they all do, but was crammed full of events. It was exactly what I needed to finally help me start feeling positive about myself and my life again. I was able to spend time with old friends, and meet some incredible new ones. That was the first time I'd really encountered this scenario: "Oh, Adrienne, do you know ________?" "We've never met in person, but we're friends on Facebook." It made me realize not only how small the fly fishing world is, but how like minded people are drawn to and seek out each other regardless of geography.

Me, Ape, Paula, Timbre and Caitlin at the Expo
February, March and April went something like this: work Thursday through Monday at the fly shop, with the occassional Friday or Saturday night drinks with friends, drive out to Chilliwack after work Monday to meet up with friends for Monday Night Tacos at the Jolly Miller ($1.00 tacos and cheap Corona) which invariably always got a little messier (tequila shots) than we intended, sleep in Tuesday morning and fish the afternoon, sometimes for cutties but most often for steelhead, sometimes stay over again and fish Wednesday, or head home for a little sleep and rebooting for the upcoming work week.

This season was my best for winter steelhead, not only was my hook up for time spent ratio pretty exceptional, but it was also the funnest season I think I've ever had out there. The Vedder is a busy system, and it is very, very easy to get annoyed and frustrated with the pressure. Some days we'd fish a run or two, meet up with friends, drink a few beer and have a good bullshit session. Did we find fish? Not every day, but yes, we still caught fish and had a hell of a good time doing it.

In March a good friend, Bill, came up from Washington to fish, and we had a fun couple of days on the river. I didn't touch one, but Bill and Ben both landed an incredible fish each. Bill unfortunately had to witness a beautiful wild steelhead being dragged up onto the gravel, unhooked, and then kicked back into the water. The angler was swearing mad that he had caught three wild fish that morning, when what he really was looking for was a hatchery fish to kill.

April started off with a bang with the Whistler Fly Fishing/Pieroway Fly Rods Cast & Blast in Squamish. I made it out for the Saturday night IronFly Tying Competition (which I won :P), the SSBC auction, and the subsequent late night shenanigans around the bonfire. The following week I had an amazing afternoon fishing on my own where I landed 3 beautiful fish with no one around, and finally landed a fish on my birthday. The M&Y Spey Day was a huge success again, and we followed it up with a big bonfire on the gravel bar afterwards. Josh made it out from Calgary for a couple days, and we had one beautiful day fishing the Cheakamus and the next day fishing a rising, dirty river in the torrential rain.

Stay tuned for for part 2 of 2012...

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