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How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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2011/7/7 20:06
From South Central,PA
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I've always been interested in hiking, mountain biking, camping and generally anything to do with being out in the woods. For the most part I spent many years were the top of the mountain was the goal. I was always searching for a hike with a view. I'd scour the maps for the next great lookout. I knew the forest in my area like the back of my hand...or so I thought. I've come to find that through fly fishing, there is a lot of places close to me that I have not explored. I only knew the heavily traveled trails and the ridge lines. The whole time I was overlooking the creeks and valleys. While the top of the mountain is great in it's own way, it can be very desolate while the creeks are thriving with life and activity. Through Fly fishing I've learned to look down and I find I'm watching the ground more and more these days even when I'm not fishing. It's such a refreshing change to not aim high!

Posted on: 12/14 21:00


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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2012/8/4 11:54
From Pittsburgh, PA
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Its a good observation. Went on a recent backpacking trip and thought that I would really be stunned by the peak views...but was more excited when the hemlocks were growing thick in the valleys and the streams were coming into view. Thanks for posting.

Posted on: 12/16 15:04


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"
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The thing with mountaintops is you have to climb to them. Valleys, you stroll through. I favor valleys.

Posted on: 12/16 15:17
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Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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It has certainly chainged my perspective on hiking and camping as well. Mostly destination-wise. My girlfiend and I do a decent amount of both, and now when I am am planning a trip, it almost always coincidentally involes a hike along a trout stream or a campsite near the water. We also just happened to have taken our last two vacations in Montana and Colorado...

Posted on: 12/16 15:30


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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It's so very often the journey, not the destination, that provides the most enjoyment.


Posted on: 12/16 20:16
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Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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From Skwentna / Wasilla, Alaska
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I have thought on this often and having spent a large part of my life carrying and using a fly rod, can tell you a few ways it has affected my course.

When I was young I wanted to catch fish and was handicapped by that desire, I was a user of things. As I aged, being around streams and rivers educated me greatly. I became an amateur ornithologist - botanist - entomologist - geologist - fisheries biologist, and a Philosopher.

In short my hobby became my passion, it became my teacher, my laboratory, and a way of life. I literally spent a very large part of my life walking beside, floating on, and fishing the waterways of this continent.

It made me a thinker.

Ard

Posted on: 12/17 6:31


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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My experience has been a little different. I started trout fishing pretty young, so have spent most of my time outdoors along the streams, and didn't really check out the viewpoints from the high ground.

But in more recent years I've started really enjoying stopping at scenic viewpoints. The views are beautiful and it's interesting getting an overall view of the landscape.

And you can check these places out along with your fishing trip, because many of them are pretty easy to access. It's very much worth taking an hour or so, to check them out.

Here are some good ones:

The viewpoint over Kettle Creek Lake.

Viewpoints of Pine Creek Canyon. Leonard Harrison State Park, Colton Point State Park, several others.

Loyalsock Canyon viewpoint, near Worlds End S.P.

Hyner Mountain, near Renovo. This is possibly the most spectacular of all, though it's a toss up between this and some of the Pine Creek Gorge viewpoints.

Hawk Mountain. Closer to you guys in SE PA.

A viewpoint over the Lehigh Gorge, which is shown as a photo viewpoint on the Hickory Run State Park map. The view is upriver towards the area where Black (Hayes) Creek flows in.

Posted on: 12/17 7:55


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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I'm closer to a younger version of troutbert, although my background is more grounded in hunting.

My family, yeah, we weren't hikers, bikers, rock climbers, etc. To my family, these kind of things where what "yuppies" did. We hunted. A lot. And we fished.

We were really big rabbit hunters back in the day. August 1st through about February meant that pretty much every few spare hours were spent in the woods and thickets with our beagles. With or without the gun, depending on whether the season was in or not. I started going out with the dogs when I was 7 or 8 probably. By the time I was 10 I was doing it without anyone else along (behind the house). It was always a big honor when you turned 12 to get to carry the gun. And when you get your license at 16 it enabled after school hunting with friends. You'd just take the gun to school, start hunting dogless, and the old man would join us with the dogs.

We'd stop rabbit hunting to do a little deer hunting in the rifle season. And we always got into fishing in the spring. But the nature of these pursuits were very different. We didn't have what we considered good hunting or good trout fishing around home. You had to go to camp for that. So these were much less frequent adventures, with a lot more pressure behind them. Buck season was IMPORTANT, as was the trout opener. You had strategies and worked hard to maximize one opportunity. Rabbit hunting, on the other hand, was like screwing around. You didn't feel bad if you missed. You talked freely, played jokes on one another, etc. You did things like "today I'll only shoot the shotgun one handed."

We'd make fishing trips to camp 2-4 weekends from the opener through the end of May, mostly focused on the large, stocked streams of the area. Usually later in the summer we'd make another trip or two for "natives". We were bait throwers, but pretty consistent C&R. We'd only occasionally keep a fish but it wasn't common.

College started changing things. Rabbit hunting went downhill around the same time. Some of our better areas got cut by farmers, developed into housing developments, etc. And even in the places that remained rabbit numbers just weren't there. I think a proliferation of hawks were a big part of it, personally.

On top of that, being off to school I couldn't be out with the dogs all the time. Our last good dog died, and my dad got a new one, but no-one had the time to train him right. For a couple years, I kept up with the traditional deer season and trout opener, and maybe get out once or twice fishing but that was the extent of my outdoor pursuits.

Met my wife, and she likes the outdoors, but we started doing more of the camping/hiking type stuff, which I actually do enjoy, but that was an occasional thing, not something "steady". I missed rabbit hunting, but I was just not in a position to have a dog, much less train it right. And I really just missed a steady outdoor pursuit. An internship in Idaho, followed by moving to Potter County meant I had good fishing close to home, and that's about when I switched from spinning gear to fly gear. When I moved to State College with Spring Creek only a short drive away, and was in grad school where I could make my own schedule. Well, that's when I actually got good at it. It was routine to be on the stream at daybreak, quit at 9 or so, work from 10-7 p.m., and make it back to the stream for sundown. EVERY DAY. In the winter I'd switch it up, work early, go fish for a few hours at midday, work again late. On weekends I'd make a day trip to Penns or a brookie stream nearby. Sometimes the wife would join and we'd camp somewhere, then she'd hike and I'd fish. I had a new, steady, outdoor pursuit. The "anytime" type, like rabbit hunting, not the "special trip" type like deer hunting and trout season used to be.

My dad and brother still fish like they used to. They've replaced rabbit hunting with archery, turkey, etc. They are hunters who also fish. I became a fisherman who also hunts. Fly fishing, camping, hiking, listening to science, etc. They tease me for having "gone yuppie". I like to think I'm still a hillbilly at heart, but I s'pose there's some truth to the teasing.

My preference for small brookie streams is more about where it takes you than the fishing itself. Its a way to get into the woods, away from roads and cars, and learn the land itself. On bigger streams, you've got houses, roads, etc. That's fine once in a while but just doesn't strike the same chord.

Posted on: 12/17 8:27

Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/12/17 8:50:22
Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/12/17 8:51:17
Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/12/17 8:57:01
Edited by pcray1231 on 2013/12/17 8:59:56


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"
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Like others, I'm a life long angler and outdoorsman so the change in perspective wasn't a sudden epiphany during adulthood. Nevertheless, I think for us this love affair with flowing water has made us different from non anglers in many ways.
In my case, I think I tend to think geographically in terms of rivers and watersheds much more so than non FFers. When non FFers think of different states here in the US for example, most folks think of cities or sports teams or weather. I think of waterways: bays, rivers, tributaries, tailraces etc. I'm much more mindful when traveling of what watershed I'm in or what river drains that area and where the water winds up. When travelling, my non fishing family and friends are sometimes bemused at my fascination with road bridges and the river name signs on many of them and they're mystified why anyone would care. It's just another river! Of course, they're not fishermen.

Funny how things come around. Early settlers in the US were concerned with the same issues even if for more practical reasons than recreational ones.

Posted on: 12/17 9:02


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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That's true about thinking geographically with watersheds. For hunters, it's also true with land features and roads. As you pass a big hollow you automatically look up there, and see draws, saddles, etc. Then you see that little dirt road, sometimes gated, and think about where it must go. You see posted signs and wonder where the boundaries are.

My dad is funny with deer. If he's driving, he's watching for deer nonstop, when he should be watching the road more closely. And when he sees one, he slams on the brakes to look. He could be on an interstate in heavy traffic and he'll just suddenly slam the breaks to get a better look at 2 deer in the woods.

Posted on: 12/17 9:11


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"
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Note to self: do not follow pcray's father too closely on the highway.

I, on the other hand, have a bumper sticker that says: "I brake at bridges."

Posted on: 12/17 9:36
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Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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I fish once a week, every week of the year. That said, when on occasion someone asks me if I go to church I tell them yes, once a week every week.

Posted on: 12/17 10:36


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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Quote:

Fishidiot wrote:
Like others, I'm a life long angler and outdoorsman so the change in perspective wasn't a sudden epiphany during adulthood. Nevertheless, I think for us this love affair with flowing water has made us different from non anglers in many ways.
In my case, I think I tend to think geographically in terms of rivers and watersheds much more so than non FFers.


Very true. My whole geographical orientation is based on streams and their valleys and watershed divides etc.

And it's easy to assume that other people think the same way. But they don't.

Here in Centre County there are many people who have lived here for many years who don't know where Spring Creek is.

And I remember the first time going to the Letort, with a fishing buddy, when we were about 16. We stopped at a fast food restaurant and asked where The Letort was. They said the what? We said, you know, The Letort, the famous trout stream.

They just stared at us blankly. They lived in Carlisle, but had no clue. It wasn't just that couldn't give us directions to the stream. They never HEARD OF the stream. They were completely unaware of its existence.

Posted on: 12/17 11:46


Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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2009/6/17 21:49
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Bigslackwater, I am going to want to fish with you in a few years. I can really relate to Ard, and I cannot explain it better. Slack, with your mindset and lack of laziness fly fishing for you is going to open a whole new world of exploration with what's around the bend driving you ever forward and up the valley. You will find things few see where leg work and fly fishing meet. Buy good boots and waders, don't go cheap. Literally the difference is how well they put up to miles of walking. The cheap ones are made for the man who never leaves the site of the car. Happy exploring. I am very excited for you. You will cut your own trails and there is no shortage of new streams. Exploration and Discovery is EXACTLY what drives some of us in Fly fishing and it never ends, like the streams there is always something new thus driving the passion and addiction to the dismay of our spouses, family, friends. It's a blessing and a curse.

Posted on: 12/17 12:08
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Re: How fly fishing has changed my perspective of "the outdoors"

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2011/7/6 13:48
From Philadelphia PA
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When I was a young kid - I really didn't take notice. Now that I'm an old kid - I appreciate what nature has to offer every day.

Posted on: 12/17 12:22
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