“Familiarity breeds contempt.” You’ve probably heard this old axiom before. Like many quotes that have been around a long time, there’s usually a lot of truth to them. However, this one doesn’t always apply. Take the case of “home water” for instance. For me, familiarity with my home water only results in good things.
Before I go on, I should probably explain my definition of home water. I am not fortunate enough to own any property that has any fishing water, much less moving water with trout (maybe some day). But thanks to the many miles of public trout water in our state I, like you, have access to some really great streams. Home water doesn’t have to be yours, except in a figurative sense. Home water is simply some place to angle that you enjoy, and have become very familiar with; you consider yourself “at home” when you are there. It can be big water or small; it could even be just one favorite pool or run you know of on So-And-So Creek. Of course, it helps if this place has certain characteristics: close proximity, great scenery, productivity…..the list could go on. Additionally, even though I have no illusion that no one but me fishes my home water, I also like a stream where I don’t need to bring my own rock to fish off of. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a certain way. I’m sure other folks’ home water is very different from mine, and that’s perfectly OK.
I really enjoy exploring and fishing an area or stream that is new to me. That’s a big part of the fun-finding new places to fish! Sometimes you can luck up on a real gem too. But when you go on an exploratory trip, you usually don’t know quite what to expect. Is the stream tight or wide-open? What flies work best there? Can I even find it and, if so, is it posted? Answering all these questions can make for a great adventure, and there’s nothing wrong with adventure. But when you want to just relax and just have a great time of fishing and enjoying creation, it’s hard to beat home water.
I have two stretches on two different streams that I think of in this way. Why two?-Because I just can’t decide between them. Last weekend I visited one of these places, and had a great day on the water. I know exactly how long it takes to get there, and when I do, I know just where I’ll start. I know which particular places usually hold fish and which I can fish through quickly….or skip altogether. (I remember, too, where that really nice, bright trout hangs out that I have yet to bring to hand.) I know what flies and tactics have worked well for me in the past so I don’t have to carry the whole catastrophe of gear, just a small fly box and a few other sundry items that will all fit in a shirt pocket or two. All this helps me to relax and focus on and enjoy the fishing and my surroundings.
There’s something very satisfying about home water. If you don’t have any water that you consider home, get out there and try some different places. It may take several visits but, sooner or later, you’ll have your own familiar place. After all, you know what they say: “There’s no place like home!”