I am drawn to fly fishing for many reasons, but the thing that keeps my passion level perked is this; you never peak and every day on the water offers new lessons to be learned. The education spectrum continues with endless rungs on the ladder of knowledge when it comes to things like fish and insect behavior, casting, presentation, knots and rigging, fly patterns, and learning the rhythm of the water you are fishing. As soon as you think you have something figured out, you will be reminded soon enough that you know nothing. Being humbled and learning from that experience is part of the growth process of an accomplished angler.
Case in point: my first experience fishing the Missouri River, now my home water and a river that I have spent thousands of days fishing and guiding on. It was 1996 and while driving over the Wolf Creek bridge sometime in May or June, I stopped to see so many trout rising it appeared to be raining. When I pulled in to the fishing access the air was filled with caddis. I opened up my flybox (pretty sure I only owned one at the time), and lo and behold I had a dozen elk hair caddis flies. Jackpot!
I wade fished for a few hours that day with perfect conditions, a strong hatch cycle and rising trout all around me. It was amazing, and in the end I caught no fish. Zero. Why? Because I was in way over my head, and knowing now what I didn’t know then, it was likely a combination of the wrong presentation on the wrong leader with the wrong fly to catch those fish. Upstream casts with heavy tippet and a giant caddis is not the way to a Missouri River trout’s heart, even 20 years ago. I had a lot to learn, that was obvious.
And it is from that mindset that our Master the Missouri Fishing School was born. We want to share the knowledge base we’ve gained through trial and error so our anglers can get a leg up on this dynamic fishery. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience to mine and want to figure out why, or maybe you’ve relied on a great fishing guide for success but not asked many questions about how and why your fishing was so good.
If you are serious about your fishing, or want to get serious about it, then a well run and organized fishing school is a great way to take your game to the next level and have fun while you’re doing it. The camaraderie of a group experience adds to the education and gives us the opportunity to meet and connect with other anglers from all over the country.