Perhaps I shouldn't say anything but I'm on a lifetime roll with this writing and there is some satisfaction in straightforeward honesty. After three years of a formidable Covid knock, this is reckoning time. I'm over it with reticence. If I'm thinking it I'm saying it.
I like rowing and camping on rivers even more than fishing, and that says something. Because I do like to fish. The USA's Great Plains prairie rivers are relatively empty. They are oh so beautiful too. The fishing there is often good, in between times when it's great, even sometimes when the water is opaquely-brown. Some of those rivers clear up in late summer or early fall. On one river I know, in the late season when the water is clear you get forced to fish streamers because with dry flies on the surface you might catch 100 Goldeneye before noon. Releasing that many fish gets to be more of a chore than an activity.
In the prairie rivers, in a single day you might catch Brown Trout (there are a few), Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Sauger (wild native Walleyes), Goldeneye, Carp, Pike and Channel Catfish. There are some teenagers in North Central Montana who have an instagram channel, who do night time bait fishing on their local Prairie River. Holy moley. The fish they catch is almost beyond belief. I'm too old for night fishing and I am still a bit stubborn about the flyrod. But not about mech else. If you ever hook a ten pound channel catfish on a 6 weight fly rod you are in for a ride. With that rig you'll need a boat. Without a boat you'll get spooled quickly.
Prairie rivers are rich and interesting habitats. Way down low amidst silty sand bars, on stretches of rivers lined by massive cottonwood bottoms I've seen thick hatches of giant mayflies that turned the river into a boiling cauldron. I've even seen a strange unidentified hatch of huge mostly white stoneflies too. To catch prairie fish you have to learn new tricks. Catfish often like water that most closely reembles what Montana trout fishermen call Winter Water: deep slowly moving but not still water. Catfish can also be found in the deep roilly water below a drop off. Catfish are never found on current-swept banks that look like brown trout water. Catfish are savvy predators. A loud plop when your flure hits the water brings them looking and sniffing.
A trout fisherman's eye will deprive you of Pike and Smallmouth Bass as well. To catch those guys you need to cast down and across into almost but not quite stagnant frog water, that is adjacent to a current. Brown trout like freeby holding spots adjacent to current too but Pike and Bass like it a bit further back, where the tadpoles are.
There is an unnamed creek in North Central Montana (more than one actually) I know that holds both Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass. When I fish there with my buddy Patrick he fishes upstream into the current dead drifting wet flies. He catches Rainbows all day long. I fish down and across into the frog water with medium-sized streamers. I strip them, pause them and jiggle them. I catch Smallmouths all day long.
Fly fishing for carp has gained considerable respectability and interest in recent years. Carp are smart fish and they are not at all easy to catch. Most of the fly rod carp fishing I've heard about revolves around shallow water in lakes and reservoirs. River-born carp tend to be substantially stronger and feistier than their still water cousins. A twelve to fifteen pound prairie river carp on an 8wt fly rod is a bit like a carnival ride at the county fair. You won't anytime soon forget it. I hooked one below a dam in Great Falls Montana that almost took the rod when my fly line wrapped the reel handle.
One day soon I hope to try prairie river fly rod fishing with a Carolina Worm Rig made with fresh pork skin instead of a molded rubber worm. Keep in mind this is opaquely-brown catfish water we're talking about here. Fishing there is a gas. Especially so with a fly rod. Spring time peak high water desert white water has become a new hobby of mine late in life. Even on Memmorial Day when the rivers are flooding and dangerous, Dave Inskeep catches catfish on flies. Later in the year when those torrents drop and clear the fish are still there. They're more accessible then too. Channel Catfish really like streamer flies. I have not yet caught a big one down there, but I did spook one once, at a place called Steer Ridge, down near the groover one morning. That fish had to go a good 20 pounds.
Life is good.