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2012 - My Year of Waters Unexplored

Many years ago, more than I care to admit, I drove to my favorite trout stream. My friends who fished it the preceding weekend reported that stellar hatches were coming off, trout were rising everywhere, and everyone was catching fish. I was dizzy with excitement.

I told my boss that I planned to take a day off midweek as vacation time. My plan was to get up at 3:00 AM, drive the three hours to the river, and fish all day. The night before, I packed my gear and tried to get some shuteye.

The way I figured it, I would burn a vacation day in order to have the river to myself. My pals said there were tons of anglers over the weekend, so I figured they’d all be at work and that I would be alone.

When I arrived, the river was chock-a-block with fishermen. It turned out my idea was not unique, and I couldn’t get fish any of my favorite spots. If I was closer to home I’d have split and come back another day, but I wasn’t and so I didn’t. Instead, I explored a new stretch that I’d never fished before, far away from everyone else.

Here, on the back side of an island in the middle of the river was a series of beautiful riffles and runs and pocket-water and pools. Brown trout, and big ones at that, were rising on a multiple hatch of mayflies and caddis. Because they were unpressured I hooked them easily.

Sometimes I find myself returning to familiar places to fish, mostly because I know them intimately. But this year I think that after I hit them a few times I’ll spend the rest of the season moving on to new water. For 2012 you can find me exploring. I’m sure that some times I’ll draw a blank, but on the other days? You’ll know I struck gold by the smile on my face.


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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.