Anglers are a funny bunch. We can get pretty comfortable in certain stretches of water that treat us well. Whether in fresh or saltwater, we all have our favorite spots. Often times we grow complacent and keep going back to those comfort zones while ignoring other areas or bodies of water entirely. I am guilty of this. I have been fishing one small stream off and on for over a decade, yet in all that time I have only seen about a mile of it. A select rotation of riffles and pools usually produce a healthy lot of wild browns and native brookies on every visit. It's a quick hit that's not far from home for me, a good option for when I don't have the luxury of a full day on the water (full day on the water...Ha!).
Catching fish in familiar water is fun. I wouldn't keep doing it if it wasn't. I didn't see a need to explore any more of this particular stream. Hell, I hardly ever re-rigged or changed flies--a small pheasant tail nymph under a Stimulator fooled 90% of my trout here. This spring, however, I forced myself to branch out to water up and downstream of my usual haunts. No rods were carried on the first two scouting walks. I took some photos and mental notes at each run I would have fished. One thing I noticed right away was that the dry-dropper technique wasn't well suited for much of the new water I encountered. It was back to the basics with a method and fly pattern responsible for hooking me, and likely thousands of others, on fly fishing in the first place. Many years have gone by since I tied and last fished a small black and olive Woolly Bugger, but like a good bird dog it went right back into action without skipping a beat.