Let's face it, We fish tailwaters because, unless they are flooded out as in the last few months, they will provide a stable, cool environment throughout the day for the trout, insects and YOU. You don't really have to wait for the Evening Rise to get some action especially during the height of Summer. Sounds perfect, right? For many people it is BUT for some not so much. Here's why.
1. If you want crowds then fish tailwaters. You can still fish in solitude but solitude is becoming harder to find on these rivers.
2. The "Magic Time" on a freestone is in the evening when a river comes to life. I've had 20+ trout evenings on rivers like the Millers and the EB AND had the place to myself. Occasionally I'll meet another angler as the sun is setting but that's ok because he is a kindred spirit. Ditto for early mornings! In early September of 2017 I worked a stretch of the EB which was flowing at a low 65 cfs and with the exception of friends Gary and Harvey NOBODY was fishing it. I took 18 that morning with a size 18 BWO . The concentration of trout rivaled that of a tailwater but by 11am they had disappeared for the day but were back in the evening. I would not have traded in that day for any day on any tailwater.
3. There is still a sense of satisfaction in having a good day on a freestone. After all, it's a natural environment. It will not have the crazy amount of trout that a tailwater has which means that if I'm catching fish I must be doing something right.
4. I know some anglers who now fish only tailwaters and that's too bad. If they suddenly had to move to a place where there were no tailwaters but just freestones would they continue to fish??
We fish to catch fish but but as John Gierach says "Fly-fishing is a solitary, contemplative, misanthropic, scientific in some hands, poetic in others, and laced with conflicting aesthetic considerations. It's not even clear if catching fish is actually the point".
I love Freestones!
Yesterday was like fishing in an arctic hurricane. If there was no wind and about 10 degrees warmer things would have been fine.