Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cold But Fishy

The Groundhog spoke (or should I say "indicated?") and the sunshine this past week seemed to confirm that spring will indeed arrive early. We were fooled by the sun into making multiple trips over the last few days. I say fooled because 35 degrees is not spring weather. But moldy Northwesterners are often confused by that little-seen yellow orb and we were drawn out from our hiding places to marvel and bask in its rays...

I found an angle along the shore of a certain spring creek where I could see a nice Rainbow holding in a couple feet of water. He turned and made a small loop downstream so I cast upstream and let the black Sealbugger sink so it would come to rest on the bottom, just up from his lie. This was close enough to the bank that my fly line was laying on grass and bushes and only the leader was in the water.

I waited.

And I waited some more. I even displayed patience, something I don't always find possible. And then the fish was back, moving slowly, three feet off shore. As he got close to his original position, I gave the line a couple short hard strips. The first one took up the slack and the second caused the Sealbugger to scoot a couple inches along the silty bottom.

The fish froze and then moved forward. I gave another micro strip and the fly moved another inch. The fish came up and observed his prey from eight inches away. I saw his head start to move left and away from my fly so I gave another strip. The fly kicked up a little silt and jumped another couple inches. The fish turned, tilted down, and showed the white of his mouth as he sucked in the fly.

I waited until he started to raise back up and then strip-set.

He turned hard and threw his head back and forth. I stripped twice, long and fast. I had him. He boiled to the surface and thrashed before turning and running downstream. He jumped once, then twice, and I held on as best I could while I reeled in the slack line. Once on the reel, he made another brief run and after a few minutes was at my feet.

A winter fish in the two-foot range is always special.

And, funny enough, I don't actually remember being cold that afternoon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Winter Months

The winter passed quickly and there didn't seem to be enough time for fly tying. But then again, is there ever enough time for fly tying? But a sunny stretch in February could only result in a quick run over the mountains for a couple hours on a favorite stream. And that little taste just makes the coming spring more anticipated. Come on April, hurry up...