The day after the longest night of the year is worth celebrating.
After all, I’m hardly a fan of 4:30 sunsets, and the day the sun starts hanging on the horizon just a few seconds longer is a very good day – longer days and shorter nights mean spring’s on the way.
And yes, spring’s many months away, but fly fishermen pretty much live in a state of foolish hope, and the dead of winter’s no time to abandon that practice.
If anything, wild rivers are prettier in winter than summer.
If asked, I’d have told you I was looking for a midday Blue-winged olive (BWO) hatch, though if I really needed an olive fix, I’d have run to one of my better olive stretches.
Instead, the Wonderdog and I fished a stretch of river near home – one still barely reachable given the recent snow (getting in was easy; getting out was not, even for the snow-monsterish Bronco).
Think it’s been cold? Cold enough…
The bottom line? In the three hours out, I saw exactly two BWOs float by and saw exactly zero trout slap at my October Caddis dry (fair enough; that bite ended some time ago, but there’s that foolish hope thing again).
Later, I tied a small copper-wire bodied PT nymph to my tippet and added a bobbicator – more a nod to the reality of the situation than a “put my head down and catch trout” moment – and promptly hooked a trout.
The Wonderdog – who’d been staring at me wondering why I didn’t just go ahead and catch a trout for him to retrieve – was delighted. And in an act of bravado, I thought I’d take a tricky underwater picture of the trout to impress my readers.
Given cold fingers and blurred eyeglasses, what followed was more Keystone Cops than James Bond (and predictable): I dropped the Pentax Optio into the water, lost the fish when he bolted away from the Wonderdog’s looming form, and started mentally counting the months until the Green Drake hatch. (Official Trout Underground Motto of the Day: “Clumsy, But Worth Every Penny”)
No wonder chicks dig me.
Why don’t I have my own TV show? (I’m stunning after all)
The Gear Guy
Conditions were a little mean; temperatures were right at freezing, a wet snow was falling, and the wind was gusting (hard) from a different direction every few minutes. Casting was problematic – when the wind was blowing down the narrow canyon, I often couldn’t get the fly upwind of the fly line.
A couple minutes later, the wind would gust from the opposite direction, and the problem became getting the October Caddis dry anywhere but upstream.
In short, icing wasn’t a problem, but seeing and casting were. Still, my ongoing test of the Patagonia soft shell was a success; an extra base layer kept me comfy on a day when the usual outfit would have been far bulkier.
Yay soft shell! Yay fingerless fleece gloves! (Warm is good).
Unfortunately, the trip revealed what I can’t deny; my feet are growing longer. (More on this stunning news development later.)
See you on the river, Tom (my toes hurt) Chandler.
Wally the Wonderdog on the trip home; why does he always look so concerned when I’m driving?