According to my calendar, Spring will arrive in four days, so there are some chores to be done to get ready for the season. Other than stocking the new boat box with freshly tied flies, I have spent the winter tying and tossing the results into storage boxes. The time has come to get out the thin plastic boxes I carry in my vest, sort through the patterns in them, and refill the compartments with the usual characters. Being an experimenter, I will have to find room in say the Hendrickson box for some of last year’s experiments, then put this year’s into the box I reserve for new patterns.
I should sort through all of the early season boxes, early stoneflies, Gordon Quills, Blue Quills, Hendricksons, olives and black and Shad Fly caddis. Those will keep me fishing for the first month. The tag sticker has to be put on the trailer tag and the boat checked out, cleaned up a bit and readied for the river. It’s hard to say whether we will have high water or not. The monthly rainfall has been up one month and down the next this winter, and we are still in the deficit column. I suspect the folks in NYC believe we will get a lot of rain at some point, as they seem to be keeping the reservoirs down about ten percent.
The forecast for the first day of Spring is for a high of 53 degrees with half an inch of precipitation in the form of both rain and snow showers. Snow wouldn’t surprise me at all, as I can recall a number of late April mornings when I awoke to find frost and my waders and boots frozen solid hanging on the porch of my cabin at West Branch Angler.
The river temperatures seem to be topping out in the low forties now, though I have not checked them this morning after a night below freezing. There’s no telling when they’ll get to that magic fifty degree mark, or if they will stay there once the milestone is reached.
I want to try out a couple of different reels and fly lines on a couple of my bamboo rods, just to see if they like the classic tapered 406 fly line better than the lines I have fished on them previously. I find bamboo to be more sensitive to fly line composition and tapers. Good rods are versatile, and will generally cast several different lines in a couple of weights satisfactorily, but finding just the right line and taper can make them really sing!
I have debated all winter whether to replace the aluminum bars on my West Branch wading boots. After five seasons the edges are worn and they don’t bite as crisply into the algae covered rocks. The West has a lot more slippery algae, silt and vegetation on the bottom and the rocks are more angular, making wading more difficult than the rounded cobble of the Beaverkill or the East Branch, so I like the grip those new, sharp edged bars will give me. Time to stop procrastinating.
Lastly I need to try and find myself a comfortable wrist band, something in neoprene perhaps that will support my wrist and help me fend off the inflammation and pain of my carpal tunnel. That malady is going to make me have to force myself to become even more patient with rising trout. When I get charged up working a good fish I tend to put a lot of casts over it; too many I think. The method works, but it puts a great deal of wear and tear on that infirmed wrist and hand. I think more patience, and a more relaxed approach will catch me just as many fish and save me a lot of pain and some down time.
Of course another winter storm system could blow through any day and turn the calendar back a couple of weeks. I have seen plenty of Catskill seasons when the “April” hatches didn’t start until May. Lets hope this isn’t one of those years.