And so it begins – after a long winter we head out to the local lakes in search of early season trout. The ice is fresh off and the hope is the trout will be hungry. Its a fine line between ice off and water temperatures that send the trout to cooler water and largely inaccessible to a stillwater fly fisherman.
By many accounts the weather is fantastic – blue sky and warm. Not necessarily optimal for fishing but it sure beats cold and snow.
We arrive at the first lake, hurry to organize an accumulation of stuff and hit the water. With extra layers on the body and float tubes loaded with an almost infinite arsenal of flies tied through the long winter we head out in search of rainbows. The rumour mill has already started – a large one was caught in this very lake just yesterday.
Getting reacquainted with the float tube goes smoothly. I forgot how much effort it can take to move push into it the wind. But I’m not complaining. I remind myself these things are not built for speed.
Thinking early season the first choice is to fish the lake edge, along the drop off but either the fish aren’t there or they are not interested in eating. Circling the lake several times produces no results so we decide to try our luck at the next lake. This one holds brook trout. It has been productive in the past but has seen some lean years of late. Hope springs eternal!
This time, the evidence of trout is more encouraging. Fishing the shoreline structure still seems the best bet. Although I find it pretty quiet, numerous hits and a couple hook ups for the others in our group spur us on.
If patience and persistence are fishing virtues, then I guess I am rewarded – a single brook trout obliges me and after an energetic struggle a nice brook trout comes to my net. Briefly admiring his green sides and multi-coloured spots, I slip him back into the water and he disappears.
My day on the water comes to an end soon after – probably just as the good fishing is about to begin. No doubt that will be the story tomorrow.
The cold weather and seriously frozen water tends to restrict fly fishing around here. But the other day I was talking to my friend Thomas and he had a few things to say about the core of fly fishing – at least in his eyes. It was well said so I thought I would post it.
Over the years I have learned that we all enjoy fly tying, casting, floating, wading, witnessing nature at its finest, just being near the water with a handful of baubles lovingly made from feathers, furs, thread and perhaps too much glue. For me its not the fish I catch or don’t catch, which may be hard to believe but its true. For me its the serenity, its the wee mornings of mist rising off a warm lake to the cold lake air, the sound of a distant chainsaw or the call of loons or the slap of a beavers tail to break the quiet glass like surface, the skittering of bugs waking up and skimming just above the lakes surface. I enjoy the long arcs of line in front in behind, the simple sounds of click and pawl fly reel pulling more line off to get that cast further than I have cast before, always reaching for the perfect cast that reaches further than i hoped or dreamed. its little things, i don’t need to feel the tug of a fish but I consider that an extra. fly fishing and fly tying to me is more than just catching a fish or two. Its about forgetting about all my worries, all my wants, needs and anything that is going on in my life is all washed away. cleansing experience. Waiting out winter to do it all over again this spring, summer and fall is the most painfully cruel wait to feel the warmth of the sun and the sounds of a summer morning alone on a lake. Free. Thomas W.
Its been quite a while but I can’t remember any high school projects quite like this one. When a group of students can combine their love for striped bass and the importance of conservation and package it in video format for a high school project – I’m impressed.
The trout were in a hungry mood a couple weekends ago, fattening up for the winter. We had a great time fishing for them near the surface on Friday afternoon but Saturday was a bit different. The fish seemed to take a break in the afternoon when the sun was high in the clear sky.
I switched to a fly I had only discovered a couple days before the trip. The complex twist bugger is weighted, bushy and bright. On an intermediate line it settled into the deeper water quite nicely. And the fish responded bringing on several good sized rainbow trout. Sometimes it pays to change tactics…….