It was chilly and wet this morning…which is exactly how trout like to be. Winter weather had forced us to reschedule this morning’s trip multiple times. For the past few weeks we thought the elements were working against us when all the time they may have been working for us. It turns out we were frustrated about the very forces that ended up putting us in the right spot, at the right time to catch this beautiful fish. Call it kismet, call it luck, call it what you want. We were grateful for the opportunity and glad we made good on it.
There’s winter and then there’s winter. After the arctic beginning we had to 2018 recent temps have seemed mild by comparison. I’ve decided that as long as the water is liquid, running and you can’t stand on it…that’s not too bad. On Sunday we were making quite a few “ice-edge releases” because we had 10′ of solid ice between us and where we were hooking fish. Yesterday however things were considerably better. We had temps in the 40’s and overnight rain had the stream flowing strong but clear. The fish seemed to appreciate the change because we had awesome action all morning long. As you can see from the pictures above, it is possible to be chilly and happy at the same time. You will notice though that we employed a “I’m not sticking my hands in the stream” photo technique!
Well, we just began 2018 with the coldest start of any year on record. Single digit nights and days without rising above freezing have shut fishing down pretty completely for the moment. We’ve got warmer days coming though and after a little time to thaw and clear we should be back on the water. Today, we actually did try to drift nymphs down the open slot pictured below but apparently, the fish had more sense than we did and elected not to participate in our lunacy. We took the hint and headed home to the wood stove.
If you follow my blog you know I love winter fishing. It can be peaceful, productive and it’s just fun to be out when you often have the river to yourself. If you do fish the “forgotten season” you need to be properly dressed, safety minded and patient enough to “know when to fold ’em.” You can’t fight mother nature so don’t try. Pick your windows of opportunity, bundle up and bring a friend (preferably one who is a little crazy!) With a little luck you can end up with a fine winter fish like the young tenkara ace pictured above. Nothing like a nice Brown Trout to take the chill off.
Thank you to everyone who came out to see and hear me at the WNC Fly Fishing Expo this past weekend. We filled the seats and then some yesterday to talk tenkara, look at pictures of the awesome fish you caught over the past year and generally bond together among all those “reel fishermen.” I’m not sure but I think we may have even made a few converts along the way. I’m back on the water tomorrow ahead of a big cold front heading our way on Tuesday. We definitely need the rain and a sharp drop in temperature will likely filter out the less dedicated (okay, maybe rabid) anglers. Bottom line, winter fishing is coming…I can’t wait.
This weekend is the 9th annual Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo and I will once again be “talkin’ tenkara” to attendees. I present at 5:15 on Friday evening and 10am on Saturday and I’d love to see you there. My talk is called “Tenkara A-Z” but don’t worry, I won’t have a topic for every letter. What I will have is lots of good fish pictures, an overview of tenkara angling and hopefully answers to all your questions about where to fish, what rod/line to choose, how to rig and anything else tenkara on your mind. You will find directions and a full schedule for the expo here. I hope to see you there!
Any day you can fish is a good day to fish. When you can sneak out on a Wednesday though, it’s particularly sweet. That’s what we did this morning and had the river pretty much to ourselves. Well, maybe ourselves…and the fish. This beauty was one of many that were caught unaware by thinking all the human-folk would be working. We braved the early morning chill and got the trifecta of Brookie, Brown, Rainbow all before lunchtime. Happy hump day!