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Waiter, There’s a Dog in My Stream

I’m not a dog person.

That doesn’t mean that I dislike dogs. I just don’t have one. And if I did, I don’t think I’d be a “dog person.”

You know. Dog bumper stickers. Life Is Good shirts with funny dog situations. Glamor shots at the mall of my dog and me. Dog people stuff.

There are some things that are quite intriguing about certain dog people lifestyles, however. The whole upland hunting scene look quite posh. And who wouldn’t want to read a book in an overstuffed armchair next to a roaring fire while gently patting the head of a golden retriever? Basically I want the image of dog ownership that Orvis is selling.

What I will not do, if I ever come into possession of a dog, is take it fly fishing.

I understand that dogs need to be outdoors; run, chase critters, defecate unhindered. I celebrate their ability to do those things with their ears in the breeze. What I do fail to grasp is the allure of bringing your dog fly fishing with you.

“Farfel is a prefect fly fishing companion,” you may say of your best (canid [or, actual]) friend. “He sits quietly on the bank, and through a complex system of tail wags and subtle eye movements helps me determine the barometric pressure, warns me of approaching bears, and clues me in on what species of mayfly is emerging.” Kudos to you, and a milkbone to Farfel. But dogs like him are the exception.

More often they splash. And chase things. Like fly line, flies, and nets dragging in the current.

And they don’t stay in your space. They want to “say hello.”

“Oh, he just wants to say ‘hello.’” Please. That is dog person for “you’re about to get savaged one degree short of a bona fide mauling.”

I could go on. But I won’t, in fear of saying something offensive. (Oh… I haven’t started yet.)

If you live out west and head miles into the mountains, have your own property on which you fish, or are one of the seven people in the world that have a “good dog,” by all means, bring them fly fishing.

But if you live on the east coast and fish special regulation waters, for the love of all things piscatorial, keep your hyperactive great dane home.

Editor’s note: If this post offends you, feel free to remove the word “dog” and insert “drunk friend,” “misbehaving teenager,” or “pretentious fly fishing ‘expert’” throughout the article.


  1. Keith Lourdeau says:

    Does this article pertain to all pets which splash in the vicinity of a fly fisherman. Just thinking if I should leave the rats home next time I take you fly fishing??

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