Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fly Fishing: Winter

I began fly fishing in winter a long time ago. So long ago I forget just when and have no clue why, other than I liked to fish, it was legal and it pretty much beat the alternatives such as staring down a hole in the ice, watching Lombardi's Packers kick the snot out yet another NFL patsy and of course grouse season was over so...Why not?

Trout streams back then were only crowded in April and early May or until the stock trucks quit running so I can't use that as an excuse but if I were just starting out today, solitude would indeed rank high. Granted tossing flies in a snowstorm is more popluar today and some spots draw a crowd of sorts anytime, especially when the sun shines but still, here in Montana I can't recall ever seeing the kind of mayhem summer routinely features.

I don't fish as much in any season as I once did--too old, too lazy, too whatever--but weather seldom plays a role in my decisions one way or the other. Though I do often look out the window find the wind howling, hurricane force and decide to run the dog instead so wind being weather I guess you could say I do wimp out now and then.

In the old days I think the relative handful of participants probably did it more to impress than anything but I don't remember ever actually putting it that way. Some of my adventures certainly raised a few eyebrows. Such as the Christmas morning I awoke to a couple feet of new snow, temps way below zero--if I told you how low you would not believe me anyway so--and the limestone spring creek out front (which only froze a couple times in the 20 odd years we lived there) frozen solid except for slim rent about 2-feet wide by maybe 15-yards long. After shoveling out I decided to tie flies--what you might call a sane move, eh?. But all morning as I tied could not keep my eyes off or mind from thinking do you suppose.

Finally around noon, the time predicted to be the day's high, still way below zero (in case you wondered) I replaced the bobbin with the already strung up rod, announced to the wife "
Goin' fishin' be back in awhile," (sorry you don't need to know Gale's lurid remarks) plowed through thigh deep drifts, out on the ice, pulled a short length of line from the reel, dropped the pair of nymphs at the head of the "run" and a couple drifts later hauled a very cold acting (looking) brookie onto the ice. But not before neighbors Art and Larry drove by, stopped, rolled the window down and one of the them said something to the effect,  "Thought I'd seen it all but you my friend are flat out friggin' INSANE! tooted the horn and drove away shaking heads and laughing. Near hypothermic would be the more accurate assessment  (please don't spread it around) I slipped the hook and booted the hapless brookie back and called it good.

One of the victims from yesterday's excursion at Poindexter; hoping for a midge and/or bwo event instead greeted by hurricane force wind, no bugs...nada...and the highlight of being mired in muck such that at one point I thought might need to call in search and rescue...true story. Anyway the hot fly, and I use the term loosely, was this conehead woolly; which of course I lost just when it seemed the trout were really getting into it; and of course did not have another woolly on me so...Oh well,  crick all to my ownself, at least until I was about to quit, watched a pair of courting red-tails, got more than a fair share fresh air, did manage to haul a few trout anyways all in all a fun way to spend winter afternoon.

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