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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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A Great Exchange

Posted by Mark Thursday, August 4, 2011

So, the other night I show up at a favorite run and am gearing up. I am alone in a spot that has access to 3-4 killer runs.The sun has shaded the water and it's GO time. A car rolls in and parks next to me. A fellow fisherman.The guy sees that I am wadering up and he comes over to chat.

" Are you gonna fish XYZ pool?" He politely asks. 

I say " I'm gonna be a minute getting ready,feel free to fish anything you want" and "Hey,thanks for asking"

He says"Well you were here first"

I say "Seriously, go have at it man,there's lots of places to fish."

"Are you sure?" He asks again.

"Yes,I am sure." I say.

Just then a guide friend of mine rolls in with clients and says to me"Hey, did you fish the lower end?"

I say " No, it's all yours, no one has touched it since it shaded." He nods his approval, says "Thanks" and heads down the road to ZYX pool and is gone.

I exchanged a few more pleasantries with the first angler who then went into an upper run and he was gone. I decided to leave him the middle water as well and I got in my car and drove away with a smile on my face.
I felt good about what just went down. I met a cool dude and potential friend in the first angler and the guide was a good friend already yes, but that stuff comes back around so giving him the lower run was a no brainer. I just gave up all freshly shaded unmolested water and really didn't care. I'm serious, I didn't even flinch. I guess I have learned a few things since I was a kid. There was no stress, no competition, no angst. I was confident that I would find a fish somewhere else.....and I did.

Now I mention this incident because as I grow older and hopefully wiser I really don't care near as much as I used to about fishing any one run.I fish the whole river,letting it dictate where I go, not peoples attitudes on the river,good or bad. Having a Plan A-Z is a good thing on this river. You can't be a one trick pony. I don't care how crowded it is, I can always find somewhere to fish. I want to have a good exchange with the people around me.Things go smoother that way. I know the river too well to get mad about not getting every pool I want every time.I almost had to laugh as I thought about talking with the first angler and almost arguing over who could have the water. It reminded me of that cartoon with the those little chipmunks.Remember "After you sir" "Oh no I insist, you first" Oh I couldn't possibly go first, you must go first"

I found my way to another stretch of prime water that was amazingly open. I fished through a series of runs with nary a person in sight, anywhere. I fished a skater with confidence as the water has finally dropped into reasonable shape and I could wade around without swimming. As I got into the "sweet water", just as I was stepping down, I saw and felt the object of my pursuit as it solidly grabbed the swinging skating fly. If I had stayed where I was one more second before stepping down I would have pinned this fish I think. But as I moved down and gave ground to the fish as it ate, I never got a solid hook into him and the fish plucked the fly solidly and was quickly gone. I was OK with that.I rose a fish to a skater and it ate it, I just couldn't seal the deal.

What a great night! It is August, I am fishing a dry line and skater, I am working the kinks out on a new rod and liking it. I am healthy and wealthy in family and friends, fishing the river that I love....what could be better?In addition,I had a very positive exchange with some fellow fisherman out enjoying the resource. Just a perfect night all the way around.

In conclusion I will say this: Please be courteous and respectful out there when you fish. Talk to people, see where they are fishing. Don't crowd or push people around. Also on that note,don't hold water etc.  If you are in a run, FISH IT.! Don't stand around waiting for it to shade etc. It's all about timing get there at the right time and you are golden.

The experience I had mirrors one of the reasons that I love the river. People that fish here are by and large friendly and ethical. The North Umpqua is still a place where history and tradition run deep. Let's all help to keep it that way forever.

There is so much more to this game than the catching!


  1. Ken Campbell Says:
  2. Yessir brother, you have your shit together. Damn glad to know you.

  3. Mark Says:
  4. Likewise Ken.

  5. Mark:
    Loved your post. I am right with you. Funny thing is the timing of your post just happened to coincide with me realizing my own "internal peace" about fishing the NU. I actually avoided fishing there very much last year due to how crowded the river can get. But like you say, it's a big river with many places to fish. Getting stuck on only fishing certain runs will only lead to frustration. There are plenty of spots that are fished less often, meaning one can usually find water with undisturbed fish. Being flexible and being willing to explore will take the edge off when popular runs are taken, especially during the peak of the season.

    Your post gave a good example of how your humble and generous spirit makes sharing the river with fellow fanatics such a positive, richer experience. I can also related to what you said about having an attitude of gratitude while out on the river. The NU is such a beautiful and special place, I ofetn find myself thankful just to be alive as I look around me while fishing or as I intently watch for the explosion on my waker.


  6. Mark Says:
  7. Thanks for the kind words Todd. Life is too short to let someone ruin your day of fishing....I don't let it happen anymore.


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