Trout Fishing photo

I’ll admit to being a prankster. I can’t help myself. My best April Fools’ trick ever was calling my brother’s college house and asking one of his roommates if my mother had arrived for her visit yet. Of course, nobody expected her–least of all my brother, who was in class at the time. So his buddies ran to get him, and they spent several hours cleaning their house before I rang back and admitted she wasn’t really coming.

River pranks are great fun, especially when the fishing is slow. And they’re pretty fun when the fishing is good too. My favorite happened in Alaska, when Trent Kososki put on a brown bear costume and hid in the tall grass until our buddy Conway Bowman hooked into a nice steelhead. You know the rest… Trent came bounding out of the bushes, Conway almost literally ran across the river surface, and I’m pretty sure he tested the leak-proof seams of his waders from the inside. You have to make sure your buddies don’t have any heart conditions before doing that one.

It’s pretty fun to snip the hook off your friend’s dry fly during an epic blue-winged-olive hatch. Actually, that’s just cruel.

My “pal” Randy (and I use that term loosely) once handed me my sunglasses case, and when I opened it, I found a tarantula inside.

Tim Romano knows I hate snakes, so he rattled in the bushes as I walked down the trail once, and laughed relentlessly as I almost jumped out of my boots. He’s also pretty good at plowing his raft straight into standing waves in the river, dousing the angler in the front. Cool in July. Not so much in March or October.

Romano and I wanted to do a “robo-fish” prank. You know, like how the game wardens use deer decoys to bust poachers at night. We’d like to get a lifelike rainbow trout dummy with an undulating tail, but it has to be about three feet long. Then we’ll tie it to the bottom of the river, and videotape people casting at it. I wonder how many people would try to snag it.

Consider this fair warning. If you happen to find an abnormally huge rainbow trout swimming somewhere like Colorado’s Cheesman Canyon, go ahead and make a cast or two if you’re silly enough to believe what you see. But don’t try any dirty tricks, or you’ll end up punked on Fly Talk.

So let’s hear from you. Any great river pranks we need to put in our arsenals, or be on guard against?