It wasn’t her fault.
I don’t think it was mine.
Really, we just grew apart.
I ignored the signs for a good long while. It was never the sort of stream where you could fish undisturbed some bluebird day June through mid-September, but in the off season, or the chilly days, when it drizzled or when the river was dingy, you could expect to be alone. One of two, maybe three cars in the parking lot. For a year or two now, it’s been tough to get away even on the bad days. High holers, low holers, canoers and kayakers dragging fifty yards at a time through riffles twenty feet wide and ten inches deep because they don’t want to go further downstream “where all the people are.” They’ll take their peace at the expense of yours, kindly. Horse people. ATVs.
Loved to death.
It came to a head back last February while an old-timer flipping rapalas and I sat in the brush and had a beer each, watching bewildered as a troupe of self-involved Flatbills set up and strike poses and take pictures. “I didn’t think it’d be so busy,” my new friend said.
Since then, I’ve wondered if fly fishing the brand-name water has become too important, too serious, for me to participate. I’ve started seeing new streams- smaller, more obscure, more technical, less accessible, less photogenic. Mary Anns. Not Gingers.
I can’t say I’ve been disappointed.