About a week after I opened in February, a young man came into Tumbling Trout Fly Shop to look around. He was going to go fishing in the Eleven Mile Canyon (a tailwaters below Eleven Mile Reservoir that hosts gold medal waters for nymph fishing all winter in the South Park region.) This young man had recently had his garage vandalized and he lost all of his streamside fly fishing gear but fortunately, his rod was in another place so he could still fish. He came to my shop with a plastic baggie holding a few items that were not in his stolen vest. He bought a couple of flies and then headed for the door with the flies in a cup. I said, "Wait a minute!" and I scrambled to pull together some things laying around my shop. I gave him an old foam fly box of mine that said, "Finders Keepers" on the back. Then, I loaned him a net and he was off.
The next morning I found a cold beer - a nice one: 5 Barrel Pale Ale -- on the doorstep of the shop.
After that, I started a donation box for fly fishing patrons to leave used items that they have duplicated or triplicated in their stash to offer to other anglers who might be in need of a free thing, versus having to buy everything. (This is an honest idea, in consideration that a person in this position has to buy a lot of important expensive stuff - little items can be inherited, stuff like hemostats for example...)
So far, only one other person - a 61 year old woman whose brother recently gifted her a fly rod - she dipped into this donation box to augment her growing collection of gear for fly fishing.
That said, the original young man, (named Bobby) returned with a young woman friend on another weekend and they rented waders for her. The next morning, the waders and boots were waiting on the shop doorstep.
"Hmmm," I thought to myself, "I need to install some kind of foot locker for late returns." That idea is yet to come down the road. So far, I am using a Styrofoam ice chest with a heavy rock to hold the lid down. (I overheard someone speculating that this ice chest next to my door must be for bait or something...)
Then, on another weekend, three different young men came in the shop to look around and they told me that Bobby sent them. We chatted briefly about the fishing conditions and I think I may have mentioned that Tumbling Trout now has permits to BOWFISH on Eleven Mile Reservoir for carp and pike. Then, they left.
This last weekend, Bobby reappeared and this time he had his cousin, Christian. They were going to the Dream Stream and, "Did I have any shot glass baetis nymphs"? No, I did not. They had a couple of these nymph patterns on them and they bought a couple of zebra nymph patterns to round out their artillery. Then, they left.
This morning I received these photos by email and a nice note to boot:
It’s your good buddy bobby, I dropped in again yesterday with my little cousin, Christian. We had a great and cold day on the dream. He is going to be a great fisherman. There was an INSANE emerger hatch around 2pm - literally a tail fin or dorsal every 3 feet every second for a good 30 mins. There must have been 20 fish in the pool. My tiny collection is growing in the finders keepers box you gave me, but we couldn't figure it out to save our lives - fish have such a sense of humor. Still, we were graced with some lovely interaction with a handful of beautiful fish.
My favorite fish of the day was a brilliantly colored peacocking male. Even to my colorblind eyes, he was a thousand sunsets. I offered him that shotglass beatis I was telling you about and he took it politely - thought i had a snag for a moment he was so anchored and calm! Pic of fish and fly attached. I think Shea ties for umpqua, so hoping they are in that order you just put in.
You can find Shea and the shotglass beatis on instagram here:
The dory looks like a blast, we may have to join you on the bighorn one of these days.
Tumbling Trout has ordered a bunch of these shotglass baetis patterns from Umpqua. They should be here this week.