Every year the arrival of spring means back to fishing. Even though I fly fish twelve months out of the year, there is still something special about nicer weather, active trout, and even the opening of formal trout season. However, my enthusiasm for the turning calendar is sometimes squelched by two unavoidable parts of spring: crowds and high water.
I’m left with the same choices as virtually every angler who wants to avoid fishing shoulder-to-shoulder or casting into fast chocolate milk. I can complain and stay home, or I can pack up and head somewhere where throngs of people and torrential currents aren’t going to be an issue.
I might still complain, but I’m certainly not going to stay at home.
An easy solution is to head upstream. Way upstream. It is a reliable assumption that the farther you walk, the less people you’ll encounter. Hike for an hour or two (or five) and you’ll be fishing over trout that haven’t seen opening day crowds. Fish early enough in the season, and the trout might not have seen anyone all winter long.
Getting away from the popular spots and the population has another benefit. If you get high enough in the watershed, you’ll be above the worst of the runoff. Whether you fish in the Rockies or the Appalachians, there is always some swell from springtime rains and melting snow. Nearly all fishable water will fluctuate slightly with the seasonal change. Moving up into the tributaries has proven successful in presenting more opportunities, even after warm spells or heavy precipitation.
Regardless of if you head into the backcountry for one or both of the aforementioned reasons, you’re going to need more than just a sling or vest. Even if I have no intention to stay overnight in the woods, any fishing excursion with a significant hike dictates wearing a daypack.
A daypack allows me to carry my waders, so I can move more comfortably in hiking boots. I can lash my rod to the pack which allows me to travel without anything in my hands. More storage means enough water and food for a day away from it all. And of course, a daypack lets me bring all the emergency essentials necessary for wilderness safety.
The Vedavoo Spinner Daypack is an excellent option for the angler. It isn’t a fishing-exclusive daypack, but the Spinner is a daypack perfectly suited for fly fishing. The capacity is more than ample for a full day in the woods and on the water. There aren’t a lot of extraneous bells and whistles, just a durable build of a common-sense layout. A good example is that instead of having to totally remove the pack to access the contents, the Spinner was built so you can keep it on one shoulder and swing it across your body to get into your core gear.
One of the most impressive features is the main harness. The unique harness was designed to accommodate your body or your activity: the shoulder straps can anchor laterally across your chest anywhere from under your armpits to the center of your chest. That means you can hike in with the straps squarely under your shoulders, but then slide them inward to avoid restricting your movement while casting.
Additionally, Vedavoo offers the Spinner Deluxe. It is the same great daypack, only with a removable Deluxe Gear Pouch. This is the same pouch that comprises the body of the Tightlines Sling. It can ride on the back of the pack, be worn on the chest, or used totally independent of the Spinner in a number of ways. This little pouch is a streamlined solution for carrying all you’ll need for fishing high up in the headwaters.
As important as having all my fishing and basic outdoors gear on my back is, returning to the woods every spring gives me the chance to enjoy good weather and great water. I’ve learned that putting a few miles in all but ensures I’ll steer clear of unruly crowds and unfishable water. Having a daypack that makes all that possible helps me focus on the mountains, the rivers, and the trout.
Have you ventured high up, above the fast water and crowds to chase springtime trout? Let us know in the comments below!