It is now January. Cold, snowy, and frozen. Winter. Lakes, reservoirs and many sections of river are solid. It is difficult and sometimes painful to fish. But at the same time so, so worthwhile. Seasonal Affective Disorder is hard at it with the dark skies, the old dirty snow and the cold. Even getting out to shovel the drive way becomes a liberating ecdysis of sheetrock and stucco!
As may be apparent to those of you that have followed my ramblings any amount, I am not particularly particular about the species I pursue. I purely love fishing, all of it! Of course bigger is better and meaner is meaner, given the choice these characteristics will be the deciding factors. But! Any "visible" fish gets my attention! If I can see it I'll fish for it, sometimes hopelessly!
Myself and a good friend found ourselves wading some local haunts for troot. Now the following may come as a shock to some, but my first fish of 2014 was a WHITEFISH! Not too shocking, right? It gets better. I absolutely loved every moment of it! The indicator tank! The ensuing throb of my graphite! Set fast to a slab of muscle in current! While I do have a fluid hierarchy of fish I pursue, in this moment I was high on whitefish! Boom! Ringing in the new year with a graphite rod bouncing over current and sounding in my soul!
We stuck a good number of browns this day. One was quite memorable. Facing down stream in an eddy, relaxed and as I would soon find out meaner than mean! I flipped my flies downstream and highsticked the flies upstream with the backcurrent. In this case, target acquisition and inhalation seemed to be simultaneous! Fish on and immediately into the heavy current between the far bank's eddy and myself. I was content enjoying the fish until it was somewhat subdued. Rod tip high, I skied the fish to the hemostats to swing the hook out.
Photo By: Scott Jackson
Photo By: Scott Jackson
Next up, a hole with a healthy pod of whitefish. I don't know how many drifts I put through them. I do know that they were far from inquisitive about the fraudulent meal. They seemed disgusted that I would drift such an aberration through their lie, even swinging out and away as it bounced down current. Luckily I decided to try a drift 12" inches to the far side of visibility.
Luckily, a small brown saved me from the insanity of fishing for whitefish that were not interested in eating what I was offering.
This far into the day my feet felt numb and we decided to call it. It felt marvelous jogging up the hill, slapping frozen, boot and neoprene clad flesh against the ground in hopes of improving circulation.
My lesson for the trip: Sometimes 12" is the difference! I must have put upwards of 20 drifts, between 6"-12" from the last small brown. I moved my drift 12" and............