Friday, February 26, 2010

Opening Day Late This Year

We arrived at the Silver Springs Fishing Access on the Ruby River shortly after noon. Despite the relatively balmy(for late February)43 degrees thanks to a north breeze and cloudy skies it seemed a whole chillier--especially so with just a skimpy worn ball cap covering a really bald cranium. Gale, however, was gracious enough to lend me a spare beanie and we deemed the minor crisis ended.

With piles of deer and moose droppings everywhere obviously the willow jungle guards the Ruby is a preferred hangout. Judging the muddy critter tracks the nearly constant sound of geese hronking, ringneck roosters crowing, ducks quacking and owls hooting a lot of other wildlife finds the living conditions to their liking as well.

Wildlife aside we came here to fish, or rather I came to fish, Gale mostly for the fresh air and the chance to shoot a few action fishing photos--key words action fishing photos--plural. Alas didn't quite happen.

I started out with what is normally a deadly go-to winter rig: size 16 orange/pink egg trailing a size 20 midge (Zebra, string,brassie),mostly the midge is no never mind since enough trout to satisfy my by now well-watered expectations usually whack the egg. Not today. So I began cycling: worm/same midge; worm/different midge; more weight/less weight; deeper drop/less deep drop; and so forth.

Three hours or so later still fishless--just one quick tug all afternoon and that on about the second or third drift--I thought to try a bugger a time or two and for better or worse call it good but...No buggers in the two small fly boxes stuffed inside my wader pockets. But there were couple soft hackles, one a size 10 peacock/sage hen hackle and a size 18 red ass...

Starting in at the top of fast run ended in a wide still pool, I swung the pair down and across several times covering the faster water and allowing the flies to hang in the soft water below for several seconds before slowly stripping them back, picking up and recasting. Six or so drifts with the same dismal results I thought one last cast and we're outta here.

Stripping the tandem ever so slowly just as I was about to end it--BAM!--moments later Gale shot the above photo: a handsome though really skinny, really cold (judging the lack of fight) 14-15-inch brown.

Revved why not try a few more swings--right? Alas, first cast, half-way down the flies hung up--too deep to wade naturally I broke them off and called it good to go. Not exactly the sort of opening (I usually get out once or twice in January and come February sometimes several times a week but for reasons escape me not this time around)hoped for, but as Gale put it--sure beats heck out what we've been doin'...I'll drink to that.

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