I recently quit my job as an adjunct professor at the local Community College. The feelings of guilt at abandoning my students were quickly replaced by feelings of relaxation and a realization that I've been ignoring parts of my life for too long. One of those things was practicing music for me. Another was tying flies and actually getting out to use them. My full-time job takes up enough time that I really don't have much to spare, but without my evenings being filled with lessons away from home I slowly began to find my way back to the vise.
With the rust slowly coming off, thoughts of putting these flies to work began to take hold and a plan was formed. Unfortunately, at about 1 am on the day we were supposed to hit the water Jeff texted me that his daughter had been up all night throwing up. So much for plans. As a last effort to not have to fish alone I texted Lane and asked if he was interested. He said he was and we decided to check out a stream that neither of us had ever fished in the winter.
If this was a normal snow-pack year I don't think we would've been able to access the water, as it was the snow was a little bit of a workout to get through. What we found when we did reach the stream was extremely clear water with little to no current. Not exactly the easiest type of water to fish. I started out with a large bead headed Prince Nymph, mostly for weight, and a Purple Frenchie but without any success. Lane hooked into the first fish of the day on a San Juan Worm and followed it up with a second pretty quickly.
I switched out my Prince Nymph for a San Juan Worm and trailed it with a Zebra Midge, but the fish still weren't interested in my offering. When we found a pool with several fish in it Lane let me have the first shot at them, but they still gave me the cold shoulder. I thought for sure that Lane would clean out the pool, but the fish weren't too willing for him either. The wind started really picking up, and it made it difficult to get a good cast or even a decent drift. Lane moved upstream in search of more willing fish but I stuck with the pool trying to figure it out. I'm not sure that I ever did, but I did manage to fool one fish into eating my San Juan Worm.
A beautiful brown trout soon came to hand, my first trout of the year. Hopefully, this is the first of many. After finally getting the skunk off, I caught up to Lane to see if he had broken the code and gotten into any more fish. What he had found was shallow, weed-filled, fishless water. We worked our way back up to the road to avoid pushing our way back through too much snow and walked back to the truck. We made one more stop before calling it a day, but the only story there was more deep snow and falling temperatures. Some people would say that freezing temperatures, icy wind, and only a few fish doesn't make for a good day. To me, it seemed pretty much par for the course for winter fly fishing and it sure felt good to get out fishing again.
Hope you're as lucky,