The other day I watched a television news report on “rudest cities” in America. According to Travel + Leisure, New York City supplanted Los Angeles for the top spot on the list. Miami was second. For the record, I love New York, and not just because my bosses work there. I’m energized when I visit New York. I even respect the Yankees. Granted, I live where I do (Pine, Colorado) for a reason, but the Big Apple has always been a great place to visit.
I find it hard to set a “rude standard” based on people. I mean, in a city of 18 million, sure you might bump into a jerk now and then, but one bad egg in a place like Bozeman or Little Rock could skew the data too, couldn’t it?
With people and personalities being such a wildcard, I think “rude” (and by that I mean someone or something that shows no regard or consideration for the visitor whatsoever) is almost better focused on natural things. There are, for example, mountain slopes that experienced climbers find just plain “rude.” There are waves to surf, and many are very kind indeed, but certain breaks are undoubtedly “rude.” And when it comes to fly fishing, some rivers don’t give a rip who you are, where you’re from, how good you are, or what you paid to get there. It’s all about themselves. As such, I got to thinking about the “rudest” rivers for fly fishers in America, and here’s the list I came up with, starting at number 10:
10.) The North Umpqua in Oregon: This river is drop-dead gorgeous, but such a shameless tease. To earn even a peck on the cheek during winter steelhead season is enough to drive anyone crazy.
9.) The Yellowstone in Montana: Nearby, the Madison and the Gallatin are so accommodating. But the Yellowstone–the last great freestone river in America–can be red hot one day, and turn a cold shoulder the next, even if conditions are exactly the same. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
8.) The South Platte in Colorado: Specifically, the Cheesman Canyon and Deckers sections of the S. Platte can be rude. But if you dealt with so many people, so often, you’d be rude also (see New York City).
7.) Silver Creek in Idaho: So you want to fish a classic spring creek? Heard this is the place to do it? Ha. Good luck.
6.) East Branch of the Delaware River in New York: Okay, the West Branch is a kinder, gentler, western tailwater-wannabe kind of environment. But if you think you have game, fish the East Branch.
5.) Hot Creek in California: Great fish. Smart fish. Want to take your turn? Go ahead. You might get lucky, and you might not.
4.) Frying Pan River in Colorado: And no, I’m not talking about the Toilet Bowl or the Bend Pool where anyone can hook a slab on a Mysis Shrimp.
3.) White River in Arkansas: The way the flows get jacked around there, you never know what you’ll find. Granted, that’s a manmade situation and the river is probably kind at heart, but the angler can rarely count on southern hospitality.
2.) Pere Marquette River in Michigan: Go ahead, bring your nymph rigs (she’s got stumps for that). Dry flies? Better hope you’re in the right pace at the right time. Yeah, it can be stellar, but this river decides when and where, if and when it happens. And that adipose fin (see photo) is the real deal.
1.) Henry’s Fork of the Snake in Idaho: It pains me to rank the Henry’s for tops of the “rude” list, especially since the people here are some of the kindest in America. But this river sets its own tempo, and could give a rip who you are, or how well you fish. They call it the “graduate school” for a reason.