Those of you who read this are well aware that we’ve been experiencing colder than normal days this April. It’s easy to get discouraged when the sky is grey, the ground is a combination of muddy brown and patchy white, the bluffs are now totally snow covered and the creeks are low. The hatches are here and there but you have to catch the right stream in the right conditions to have much of a shot at fishing dry flies and the spring warm up that most of us would welcome seems like it may never come. I opted to forge ahead this weekend and I’m glad I did, not because I caught an amazing fish (they all are when you think about it) but because I spent time outside doing what I love.
Saturday I fished the later afternoon with the sun setting fast around me. I fished a smaller stream and did less than stellar with my heavy streamer. I was expecting to hit a few deep holes and runs quick but arrived to find the water level so low that the dreaded green slim had begun to proliferate slowing things down even more, this was discouraging to say the least. The silver lining to a possible bank-full flood event (that has a possibility of arriving later this week) would be that it may flush some of the green slime out and scour the holes deeper again on this reach. The trade off here is that when the sand and silt are scoured out so are many of the invertebrates that we want to hatch and proliferate this time of year. I found myself landing beautiful brookies near dusk and despite my guides icing up every few casts I enjoyed the hike in the frozen woods.
I consider myself fortunate that I love the winter, when the snow came down a week ago and reset the clock back to early February I went out and embraced the heavy wet stuff falling around me. Saturday as I hiked through the woods with the light blanket of snow on the ground it reminded me of deer season. Sunday took a bit more convincing to get out, the sky was overcast and the air temperatures were still in the low 30’s when I pulled up to a spot which has seen a lot of foot traffic recently. I went out with the idea that I would continue testing the weighting on the Dirty Mops I’d been tying. I’m sure I would have managed more trout had I switched to something less obtrusive but I learned a few things about the way I have been tying this fly and before I go buck wild and tie up three dozen I wanted to get some field research in. I landed a handful of browns ranging from 12 to 18inches. The takes were often very subtle on dead drifts deep in the darkest of holes, not much was chasing down my fly. This scenario made me long for the fall days when the rain is constant and the fish are so forgiving, almost comically chasing your fly down to your feet before noticing or even caring you’re standing above them rod in hand. I’m pleased I took the time on Sunday to go out, I took my own advice and fished while the weather and the streams allowed and if I don’t get back out before things muddy up, if they do, I’ll be pretty satisfied I made the best of the time I had.