9AM, cool and overcast. The forecast said no rain until 3PM. Perfect……….

It began raining at 10:30AM.

Tuesday was a school day on the water for my friend Chris and I. The students were anglers but not fly anglers……yet. They (Charlene, Molly and Siri) work together on staff at the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust writing grants, penciling easements, raising funds and keeping all the paper and data organized. A plan was hatched at a recent fund raising event to immerse them in the water of the river they are working so dillegently to protect. A way to provide them a different perspective on their employment at the KRLT. Protecting the health and beauty of the Kinnickinnic River, part of the mission statement, comes by wearing and understanding many different hats. These hats, worn by anglers and farmers, lawyers and philanthropists, kayakers and birders, conservationists and government agencies and many others each carry a different awareness on how to achieve this mission statement. The efforts to interact and listen were appreciated.

The first two hours were textbook classroom in the water. Discussion of lingo, upstream/downstream, roll cast, pockets and seams. A bit on wading safety and how to make this longish rod deliver a fly with this oddly large line. We talked a bit about Brad Pitt, and if he would actually show up when we began casting the dry fly. We also talked about the “not-bobber”. This newly coined phrase came about after students were told that the brightly colored piece of styrofoam keeping their flies floating at a set depth was not a bobber and should not be referred to as such. The device, called a strike indicator is an important part of visual interpretation in fly fishing/catching and was to be treated with great reverence. This long standing division over terminology between different sects of angling is long standing and not up for discussion. Calling it a not-bobber seemed fine by me. During this time period 1 fish was caught and a few others were “hooked” but clearly, abundant catching was not experienced by the students as we had hoped. The favorable conditions had not produced richard. The instructors were stumped. The students were practicing with great reverence, accuracy and respect, yet not being rewarded. Why was there no cooperation from the fish?

In order for the instructors to save face and attempt to make good on the suggestion that this should be a perfect fishing day, a change of location was required. The rain had fallen steady for a couple of hours. Everyone was wet and rain coats were mostly left in the vehicles at the top of the hill. The group headed in a down stream direction and slipped wetter yet into the flow of water from above and below. It all came together in that secret spot below the corner pool. You know the place. Cast, mend, Boom! 10″, 11′, 12″ they came all in a row. More fish to follow. Anglers switching off on each landed fish. A bevy of smiles. Barbless releases all flawless. No harm, no foul(ok there was one foul hook). A wet walk out, a story for the books. All we needed was more rain.

Thanks ladies.  Perspective, perseverance, patience, well done.