Interesting Things I’ve Encountered While Fly Fishing


September 4th, 2023

Over the years I’ve come across plenty of interesting things while fly fishing in rivers, streams, and reservoirs. Some of these bodies of water were in deserts, others forest, some low altitude, and others high altitude.

This article (the second of several) is where I’ll show you the various things I’ve come across, using pictures and videos.

And with that, let’s get started!

Beaver skull found in river

A Submerged Beaver Skull

One day while I was fly fishing in some relatively shallow water, I noticed something unusual underwater. When I picked it up and studied it for a while, I realized it was a beaver skull.

This particular river had plenty of muskrats, but I’d never noticed beavers. Although, I’d seen plenty of trees they demolished.

A snake in the mountains

In the above video you’ll see a snake I encountered while at high altitude in the mountains doing some fly fishing.

While it doesn’t look like a standard black-and-yellow garter snake, I do think it’s a western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans). If not, it’s a striped whipsnake (Masticophis taeniatus).

Whatever it is, it had good size and was fun to find.

Giant sturgeon in small creek

Small Creek Sturgeon, anyone?

If I hadn’t added the white arrow to the above photograph, you’d probably have wondered what you were even looking at.

Well, that white arrow is pointing at a 6-foot sturgeon that I discovered in a small creek.

And yes, I hooked into it. And yes, after a 15-minute fight it rocketed three-quarters of the way out of the water and threw my weighted streamer back at me in mid-air.

Then it went back to what it was doing as if nothing had happened. I left it alone after that.

Oh, and don’t bother asking where the creek is 🙂

Gopher Snake Swimming

Near the end of a particularly productive and memorable day of fly fishing for trout one fall day, I happened to notice motion near the shoreline.

I waded closer and realized it was a +/-36 inch snake swimming across the river. Clearly it was intentional on the snake’s part–is this a method some snakes use to travel distances? I’m skeptical, but what other explanation is there?

I believe it was a gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer).

Spiderman insect

A Spiderman insect

Here’s an insect I found on my vehicle door handle after a day of fly fishing a local river.

Never before or since have I seen an insect like it.

After some research, I believe it was a blue-winged wasp (Ageniella coronata). Super cool bug.

Caddisfly larvae

One day while I was wading through some shallow river water in search of some rises, I noticed several moving objects below the surface. They resembled those tiny hermit crabs you can find on some saltwater beaches.

These in fact were caddisfly larvae. What’s so interesting is that they build a protective “shell” using small pebbles. Pretty cool insects.

And, one day, they’ll emerge as caddis flies and fly away.

Large bird nest in tree

Huge (bird?) nest

From a distance, this appeared to me to be a bee hive. But as I got closer, I saw that it was actually a nest of some sort.

The tree it was in was growing right on the river’s edge.

If you know what built this, please send me an e-mail so I can update this page.

Black bear scat

Black Bear Scat

There was a particular river in California that I used to fly fish pretty regularly. During the fall, I always kept an eye out for black bear.

One evening after the sun had gone behind the mountains and I had decided to call it a day, I waded up onto the shoreline and began walking towards my vehicle.

For whatever reason, even though I was the only human for at least a mile in all directions, something told me to look behind me.

So, I looked back over my right shoulder and saw an adult bear staring at me from about 100 feet away. He was sitting on his rear legs (like a dog) watching me from an elevated position.

My vehicle was still about 125 feet away, so I maintained my walking pace and kept an eye on the bear.

When I got to my vehicle and unlocked it, it beeped and the lights flashed, which scared the bear away.

The bear came back about 15 minutes later to see what was going on.

Anyhow, the above picture is something I saw many, many times that fall.

If you can tell what kind of berries they were, please e-mail me.

Tree that was cut down by beavers

Beaver tree

I’m not sure what species of tree this is (was), but the beavers sure liked it.

Initially I thought someone had taken a chainsaw to it for some reason, but I quickly realized it was the work of the resident beavers.


This article is the second in a series, and I hope you enjoyed reading through it. You can read the first article here.

I’ll continue to document interesting things I come across while fly fishing, and will share them with you in future articles. Here’s a link to the first article in this series.


About the Author

About the Author

My name's Sam and I'm a fly fishing enthusiast just like you. I get out onto the water 80+ times each year, whether it's blazing hot or snow is falling. I enjoy chasing everything from brown trout to carp, and exploring new waters is something I savor. My goal is to discover something new each time I hit the water. Along those lines, I record everything I learn in my fly fishing journal so I can share it with you.