|Icy guides were a frustration all morning. |
Review coming up on the GlacierMending & Stripping Glove
In the midst of the chaos, I blocked out a few hours of my schedule to hit "my" trout spot for a few hours. The unfortunate part of having a busy schedule and having to schedule outdoor time is that you totally lose control over your usual ability to play the conditions.
Such was the case on this day. Morning temperature? 24 degrees. Sunny. Oh well, I had two hours to burn, and I was going outside, end of story. I geared up my ultralight spinning setup - very sure that I'd not be able to fly cast icy floating line - and set down the road. I hadn't been trout fishing in true winter conditions in about five years, and the last trip was miserable - 13 degrees, 4 hours, one lousy rainbow trout about 10" long. Of course I wanted to catch fish this time, but I had simpler goals: stay safe, take it slow, relax. I pulled into the spot's lone parking space, and, whipping out my own copy of my directions to the spot, got into the creek and started working.
I'd last fished here in early November - and what a great few hours that was! I was unprepared for how much the river would have changed in just a few short months. The water was higher, but I had already noticed that by checking the gage before my trip. It was just stunning how much gravel has moved around. This pool below the bridge looks different every time I visit. The changing bottom profile doesn't make it any easier to fish.
I was throwing a variety of inline spinners - oh wait - the offical trout angling jargon is "french inline spinning flies" - that were a mix of gold and silver spoons with a variety of metallic, white, chartreuse, red, brown, and black flies. When you call them "french inline spinning flies," they cost $7.99 each instead of $2.99 each. If you call them "rooster tails," well, then, they cost $1.67. And that's one to grow on.
The flies themselves were a mix of patterns. They included woolly buggers in chartreuse, red, brown, and black, some metallic nymphs in black, red, silver, and gold, and a black nymph for good measure.
The water wasn't the highest or fastest I've fished it, but it was definitely high. Because I like to complicate matters at all times, I was using Nano-Braid (I can't remember the product name yet) for the first time, which was not really ideal. I'll fish that line again soon, and review it here soon after, but at $20/150 yards I don't know that it was a great deal. It's responsive, but you can't tie it with regular knots (the bloggers who got sent the Press Package of Nanofil got a note to that effect, but if purchased at the store, you get no such warning).
Between gravel nicks, gravel hang-ups, and icy guides on the rod, I lost several $4-$5 spinni...excuse me....french inline spinning flies (How ya like me now!). It was frustrating but because the conditions were a little unusual for me, I at least felt like I was really learning a few things. Luckily, the outing wasn't totally without fish bites.
In all I got about 4 solid strikes and another 3 or 4 bite-n-carries, but no trout to hand. The go-to lures were black, brown, and chartreuse buggers in a size 12 (that tip is for my memory, but feel free to use it!).
This spot is off of the DNR stocking list, and I'm curious to see if they'll put it back on this year. I've never seen anyone fishing there except me. How strange. Soon enough, it was time to get back and back to adult productivity. Not a perfect fishing trip (on its own merits) to start 2012, but maybe a perfect start to a good fishing year.