Nobody can say that it hasn’t been a nasty winter here in the Midwest. We’ve seen everything that Mother Nature can throw at us: ice, sleet and freezing rain, snow and bitterly cold temperatures. Of course, compared to other parts of the country, they would tell you that the season here has been mild. Last week we topped out at a balmy 60 degrees after what seemed to a February without end with temperatures in the single digits and teens. I was digging through my closet looking for my shorts and Hawaiian shirt that I keep right next to my down parka, (the weather is that changeable here in St. Louis.) Then the telephone rang. It was a friend of mine. He asked me what I was doing today. “Not much.” I replied. He suggested that we go fishing. Even though I thought it was a little early for that sort of thing, I agreed. We were to meet down at the local sporting goods store so we could pick up our licenses.
Now I’ve never been much of a sportsman. I love the outdoors; just give me a bag of trail mix and a trail to hike and I’m a happy little camper. But when it comes to hunting and fishing, I’m usually the guy that just tags along. I went down to the basement and dug out my old tackle box. It was pathetic. All it contained was a couple of rusty treble hooks, some lead weights, a pair of pliers, some dried-up cheesy-smelling bait, and a couple of plastic floats, one of them cracked. I’m also somewhat of a fishing mooch; unafraid to ask my partner if he has any extra tackle that I can use. My friend, however, is into the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. His tackle box looks more like a tool chest than anything else. I’m content with a box of night crawlers while he has all of the bells and whistles. He’s not even afraid to toss an $8 lure into a tangle of underwater weeds. He goes out in a boat and fishes for bass. He told me that the latest thing that he was checking out was fly-fishing. He was thinking about taking a class.
When you go fly-fishing it’s essential to buy or create “flies” that look like the fish’s favorite insects, minnows, or crawfish. When you’re talking fly-fishing, you’re usually talking trout and trout love clear, clean water and that usually guarantees that you’ll be in beautiful surroundings. There are a couple of companies such as St. Louis Stream Adventures that will take you right out to the stream so you can learn how to fly-fish. For others, there are classes scattered around town. Here are a few of the places that you can learn:
The St. Louis County Parks Department offers classes at the Greensfelder Recreation Center at Queeny Park in West County. There are a variety of classes offered; from Introduction to Fly-Fishing to Reading the Water for Trout. You can call 314-615-4386 for more information.
If you know what the terms reach, mend, wiggle cast, and double haul mean, then you’ve probably been Fly-Fishing before. A class in Intermediate Fly-Fishing is offered at Tilles Park for $25. Call 636-391-0922 for more information.
White River Fly Shop at Sportsman’s Warehouse Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles offers free classes. You can visit their website at www.basspro.com.
Feather-Craft Fly Fishing at 8307 Manchester Road offers fly-tying demonstrations and a six-position casting yard where you can practice. There are free classes on Saturday mornings but you must register ahead of time. Their number is 314-963-7884