Jan. 13th, Snow & The Driftless

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On-stream at 11am, ~10-13degrees with a minimal South wind. I thought it was going to be colder, I should say “feel” colder. Geared up I was feeling good despite the cloudy skies hiding the sun. I hiked straight to a fishy lie, waited to see if any midge were about and assessed the position of the trout. No rising and only a few small trout were hanging in the shallower water, everyone else was hanging deep. I stuck with the same #8 Sprinkle Me Baby from my last outing, soon this fly will have caught more fish and lasted longer than most. I might be getting a bit better keeping my flies out of trees and away from snags.

The first hour was slow with minimal trout activity, nothing rising and if they were striking my fly it was so subtle I couldn’t tell. I kept at it and eventually added a bit of weight to my line. I did find a few midge speckling the snow but not in large quantities, they looked like a #20 Dark Olive/Black body. Despite the Midge in the snow (~12pm, ~13 Degrees) I only observed three rise forms all afternoon.  After dead-drifting my fly for over an hour I had nothing to show for it and [singlepic id=2194 w=280 h=200 float=left]decided that something needed to change or potentially waste my afternoon. I tried a few down and across swings, adding a bit more weight I managed to bring a smaller 10inch Brown to hand.

I kept the weight on and once I found the fish and how they wanted the fly to be presented I managed to haul in a few including a nicer 14+inch thicker Brown. I kept getting into 10-12inch trout thinking the last time I was catching fish with the #8 SMB I was getting 12+inch fish almost every time. I’m curious if the weather conditions/water temp was keeping the larger fish hunkered down. The snow came down throughout the afternoon sometimes dropping feathery fat snow making the stream look like something out of a poem. The air temp rose probably close to 20degrees by 2pm and the wind increased slowly but only became a pain closer to 3pm. The skies remained dark all day long making for a unique feeling, not drab but maybe somber. I found it to be peaceful. I chose a stream and valley in which a South wind would aid my roll cast, I knew I would be spending quite a bit of time roll casting today. If your going to go play in the wind, make it work for you.

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I eventually added a trailing nymph to my streamer primarily because I didn’t want to play with my rig for long, I felt that adding a trailing nymph (#14 Air Head Pink Patrick see Andy Roth) would provide a second option and by this point I was back to dead drifting the SMB. I picked up a few more 10-12inch Browns and one 4inch tiny trout. I like seeing the younger trout, it’s cool to [singlepic id=2202 w=300 h=220 float=left]pick up one this small every once and a while. At 3:15pm I made my last cast then hiked the 1/2 mile back to the truck watching the two Bald Eagles cruising the skies above. Good day, I dug fishing with the snow falling around me. Glad to get into quite a few, probably over a dozen smaller fish and a handful of larger trout. Looking, wanting, waiting for rising trout and midge. It will get here but the sooner the better.

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5 Comments:

  1. After days and days of rain and gloomy grey skies here in the PNW, your winter angling adventures are a welcome read. I must admit, you are the first guy I have heard of, to combine snowshoeing and flyfishing! Very well done.

  2. Nice outing. Your winter hours in 2011 are already at a nice tally. And the season is young.

  3. Jim, snowshoes were recommended by a friend and out here they do make a difference. I chose a pair that is designed more for shorter distances but has a shorter profile for going through say thicker forests, a must for this area.

    Looking forward to tomorrow Wendy. Fishing in the snow.

  4. Nice– I like that clear bead with the pink thread underneath, looks good.

    cheers

    • Brian, it’s not a clear bead with thread underneath. It is a bead that has an inner pink lining with a clear outer coating. One bead. Simple and effective. Cuts down on tying time a bit, doesn’t add a whole lot for weight but underneath the dubbing I fill it full of weight to balance it out.

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