Sunday, January 6, 2019

Ice and Fire

The changing of the calendar year always seems to make us look back critically and look forward with renewed hope for change. An assessment of how we spent our year is inevitable and my 2018 seemed oddly lacking in the fishing area. I did get out a few times, including some great trips, but where I usually fish about once a week, this year I was lucky to get out once a month. I did get some great hunting trips, despite not really drawing any tags for myself. I also got laser eye surgery over the summer which I think will be great in the long term even if it cost me time on the water this year. 

Coming to the conclusion that I didn't get enough fishing this year, plans were made to get out fly fishing in spite of the cold temperatures. I love to ice fish, but it's not the same as flinging a fly and I knew how I wanted to finish out the year. Dad and Weston were too busy trying to get my sister's kitchen remodel done, so Jeff and I headed out in-between snow storms to try our luck. Stopping at the gas station I ran in to grab a cup of coffee, and the attendant refused payment saying, "Have a good day!" I was pretty stoked to be on the receiving end of what seemed like a charitable act until we were down the road a couple miles and I took that first sip. The coffee was cold and tasted like it had been sitting out all night...thanks.

Dawn broke cold and harsh, but not without it's own beauty as Jeff gave the first spot a try. Icy guides are never fun and having them on every other cast can be frustrating, but the real shock was that we didn't find any fish to start our day. We were starting to wonder if this day was going to be a fishless one, when Jeff got the first fish of the day at the second spot he tried. A quick release and Jeff was back to fishing. We broke out the camera when he hooked into something that felt significantly heavier than anything he'd caught so far. What came to hand was a beautiful tiger trout, the biggest fish of the trip and a personal best tiger trout for Jeff.

I managed a couple of fish on a black Woolly Bugger, though the fish didn't seem too excited about it. I was trying to take it easy and just enjoy being there with my sweet little fiberglass rod in hand, but the fishing was a little slower than I'd like and so I moved into a different spot to see if I could change my luck. The new spot gave up several fish on a green Copper John including my biggest rainbow of the year! 

People moved in on us so we jumped in the truck to find a different spot. The first place we tried seemed okay until just after we started fishing and a couple guys pulled up that seemed more interested in cuddling up to us than trying to catch fish. Annoying, but they gave up pretty quickly and left us to our little corner. Another change in scenery seemed like a good idea. This time Jeff took a little nap in the truck while I walked down to a spot that has treated me well in the past. Fish were present and seemed eager to play, but didn't have much size to them.

Back to where we started since the crowds had left with the falling temperatures. Jeff took up his spot from the morning and picked up where he left off, hooking and landing several. He hooked one really nice fish that didn't want to come in for a picture that will be bugging him for awhile, maybe we'll see him next time. The sky lit up just as the coyotes started howling, making for an amazing scene to finish out the day with the odd fish still coming to hand. A great end to the year in the outdoors with another great year coming up quick.

Hope you're as lucky,

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