Advance Guard

Turkey Biot Quill Gordon

Sunshine graced the Catskills today and it drew me out to the river. I had been holed up for a while like many of us, and it was good to breathe fresh mountain air once again. Driving along I noticed cars parked along the rivers in twos and threes, making me wonder if those anglers are taking the warnings to stay away from others seriously.

I did find a pool to myself eventually, an open reach where the wind could reek havoc throughout the afternoon. It did a fine job.

There were a few little olives about, and later some small stoneflies, but there was no surface activity despite a good, wadeable flow and warming water. Around three I dunked my stream thermometer to see if the river had warmed appreciably from the overnight low in the forties. At last I read the magic number: 50 degrees!

I swung a soft hackle pheasant tail, and blind cast a stonefly just to keep my mind from wandering, but I saw no sign of a trout. I spent four hours simply being in the river, something a good friend would have complained about had he been there, but considering the alternatives looming in our world, I enjoyed my day.

The highlight was the little thrill I felt when I spied what looked like a good sized mayfly. There were a couple of those sightings, too far away to be certain, particularly considering my overpowering sense of wishful thinking. Finally one drifted past a short cast away. The attitude on the surface, upturned abdomen, and the tall reclining wing sealed the deal: that bug was absolutely a size 12 or 14 mayfly dun! The advanced guard of the Quill Gordons has made an appearance.

There is another nice day forecast for tomorrow, though sadly the weather is going to go sour for the rest of the week. Highs in the forties are expected and five days of rain. Any significant rainfall will cause the Delaware reservoirs to spill and that will be the end of nice wadeable flows for a while. Both are sitting at 99.6% capacity today. The drift boat outside lets me deal with high water, but there’s nothing I can do about the low temperatures and clouds. It may be a long time before the water temperature rises to that magic 50 degree mark again.

It was nice to get out with a favorite bamboo rod in my hands. I carried my Dennis Menscer 8 footer, a five weight hollowbuilt rod that is pleasurable to cast. Dennis closely guards his hollow building method, so I can’t explain how the rod does what it does, but it is very crisp and noticeably lighter than my other two piece 8 footer. That is a treat I don’t allow myself when I have to fish from the boat. There’s just too much going on with rowing and bouncing through white water to be comfortable with a fine cane fly rod aboard.

Sitting on the porch this evening grilling supper I couldn’t help but think about tomorrow, and wonder. If tonite’s low gets down in the thirties as its forecast to do, tomorrow’s sunshine will have to start all over to try and get the river back to 50 degrees. If though it stays in the mid forties, well then, there might just be enough of those early Quills to raise a trout or two…

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