Thursday, December 15, 2011

Medium Falutin

It's a trout

The problem I’ve long had with trout isn’t really fair to trout. Little pale-colored stocked rainbows don’t represent all trout, but they’ve sort of clouded my impression of trout anyway, much the way that my ex-girlfriend Sharon clouds my vision of crazy women. Just as I know there are great crazy women, I know there are some great trout.  The problem is that stockies have few, if any, of the attributes of a desirable fly fishing quarry. As I see it, the perfect fish is beautiful, lives in places where I want to fish, gets to a respectable size, fights well, is wild and is native to where I’m fishing for it.  Now, before you start screaming “But you’re a carp fisherman!!”, let me make clear that what I’ve just described is a perfect fish.  A perfect fish scores high in all categories. In fact, we can quantify the score in units I call falutins.  If you want to fish for a high falutin Atlantic salmon, get yourself to the Gaspe.  Or head to Key West for some high falutin tarpon.

            Most of us, most of the time, must settle for fish that are not perfect, but are perfectly respectable.  Carp, for example, while not native, are big and strong, wild and wildly attractive, and live in lovely places. Up until recently, the only accessible trout that didn’t make my bowels churn were Great Lakes steelhead. They’re not native to my region, and the ones I’ve caught didn’t fight well, but I’ve heard they’re capable of fighting well.  Their other attributes are evident. And, they’re sort of wild. When I first developed my falutin scale, I only allowed a fish to get a “Yea” or a “Nay”.  But these steelhead, though hatched in a hatchery, then go on to spend their formative years living legitimately. I now give partial credit.

            And this brings us to yesterday’s fishing. Right now, cold-water fish are really the only game in town. Seth, also a dyed-in-the-wool warm water fly fisherman, suggested a trip for stocked browns (trout, that is).  My gut reaction was negative, but it turns out that our local browns, while clearly non-native and also stocked, are stocked as youngins but, because of cold, spring-fed water, manage to holdover for multiple seasons.  As such, they are, I am not too proud to admit, perfectly respectable medium falutin fish.

Seth drifts...
And hooks up.

Medium falutin


  1. Splendid. One can almost smell the reluctance. At least, I think it's that.

    That last one's the Andrew Carnegie of Trout!

  2. At this point I'd take low falutin. Glad to see someone's higher on the scale.

  3. Trout are kind of ok. I guess.

  4. Thanks for taking a properly apologetic approach about this. Honestly, I'd personally give those browns more falutins than the lake "steelhead", if only to cause affront to steelhead anglers.

  5. Well, that's all well and good, but how many falutins would you add? I mean, they're not high faultin, right?

    See? This isn't as easy as it sounds.

  6. It's the relative value that matters. I'd go find a group of steelheaders, break up the argument, query them about their quarry (note alliteration), then add 2 falutins to the highest value they proposed. That's how many falutins those brown trout should have.

  7. Not a bad idea, but there are some things about Erie steel headers you need to know. Many fancy themselves high falutin purists, at least to the degree that this is possible on such an artificial fishery. But, there is a second class of steel headers who actively reject falutinism, and in fact would purposely "low ball" the score. These lowbrow types, if you will (no offense intended), would fish for Atlantic Salmon with cheese bait, just to make a point.

    In fact, I think there's some irony in the fact that you, the lowbrow angler, are trying to add falutins in the first place. I'm highly suspicious that your motives here are altogether respectable.

  8. I'm leaving class out of it, and simply tyring to offend Great Lakes steelheaders. You people (no offense intended) are all, like, "ooh, look at me I'm fishing in the dead of winter AND I'm catching fish" or like, "ooh look at me, I'm fishing for an invasive species and yet I'm STILL going to threaten physical violence against anyone fishing over redds", and the like. At least the west coast types only catch a fish every few years and so there is no reason to hate them.

    Anyway, I sure don't want distract readers from learning about the impressive and useful falutin scale method of fishery assessment.

  9. You would batter and deep-fry a redd if you could, wouldn't you?

    Hell, I bet you've already tried it.

  10. Carp are like fat chicks and to ride til your buddies catch you!
    Nice read! I totally understand your reasoning. You need to invest in a few days off, a couple tanks of gas, and a 4 hr drive. I can guarantee your senses will be overwhelmed by the beauty of your sourrounding and the quantity and quality of fish.
    Sometimes it takes a little kick in the pants to explore outside of our comfort zone. Consider this your are blessed to live within 4-5 hours of some of the worlds best steelhead and trout fisheries. I would be a shame to live a life without exploring that gift.

  11. I meant no offense...merely poking fun to your reference "But you're a carp fisherman"
    I have grown up in Ontario. Carp as to many here in the Great Lakes have always represented a coarse fishery. Perhaps always measured on a table fare scale...I dunno.
    Sorry if I offended...not my intentions...

  12. I took no offense. I am offensive, but not easily offended.