The Adventures of Zoey
Meet Zoey, a rescued middle aged mix of a short haired pointer, cattle dog, and pitbull who is now a fishing dog. It wasn't always that way. The first time Zoey saw a fly rod, she hid under the car and refused to come out. During one of her first time excursions out on the stream, she kept her distance with one eye always on the rods swaying back and forth and the other on any potential wildlife in the woods. That was, until we caught a trout. The commotion on the water caught her attention, the same way she goes berserk whenever a squirrel comes into view. Disregarding the nearby rods, she clamored over the rocks for a closer view and eventually a lick or two. With each subsequent fish, she became more interested and knowledgable about why we were outside and standing in the middle of a creek getting all wet and cold. Over the years, Zoey began to anticipate fish being caught, eagerly awaiting the next one while watching dry flies and indicators drift on or through the water column. She became less interested in her surroundings and more on what Katie and I were doing. Now, she recognizes fly rods not as a threat, but as a sign that we are heading fishing. She even watches rising fish and follows the river bank as if she is pointing them out to us. Zoey hardly ever leaves our side out on the water and is always there when netting and releasing a fish. She is officially a fly fishing dog.
This became evident during a late spring trip into the wilds of Pennsylvania. It was a cold and rainy day, the kind that Zoey used to bow out on a few years earlier. This time she was a champ, displaying the aforementioned qualities of a fly fishing dog. Due to the rain, the fishing was a little slower than we had anticipated but we still caught plenty of fish below the surface, including a few nice ones. However, we were there some dry fly action and march browns, sulphurs, and any other mayfly that hatches in that particular window. During the mid-afternoon the torrential downpours stopped long enough for the mayflies to appear and all hell to break loose. We found ourselves in a side channel where a nice riffle leads into a deep pool underneath a large oak. Fish were rising everywhere and Katie and I took turns picking and choosing our targets. They were all quality fish in the 14-16 inch range discernible by their unique colorations and spot patterns. Zoey was there for all of them as she watched our dries drift across feeding lanes on top of the water before eventually getting eaten. Eventually, the action began to slow, the light began to fade, and we headed back to our campsite for some fireside chats.
An example of what can happen if you fish the tail out before you cross it.
Zoey following the fish.
Solid fish and a quality wading jacket.
Close encounter with a drenched porcupine...