The first week of May is behind us, and an inch of show is expected tonight. I guess I should be used to fishing in two jackets and a hoodie by now.
We did get two days that reached 60 degrees this week, and none were forecast, but the wind has been relentless at times. Yesterday they called for 10 -15 mph and I went wading, not expecting anything in the way of hatches unless the sun brought a few caddis to the surface. I was certain that the Hendricksons were finished where I was heading. They had started fully two weeks ago and then the high water and cold flushed the rest of them away right? Apparently not.
I pulled up a stream gage yesterday morning and the temperature field was stuck on early April when the site loaded. Water temperatures were in the low forties, with the better peaks near 44 or 45 degrees, the same thing I saw when I refreshed the page to get the current data. Basically the rivers have not changed significantly over the course of the past month.
I marveled at a heavy Hendrickson hatch yesterday afternoon as I stood waist deep in cold water and worked both of the rising trout I would encounter for the day. There were Blue Quills in abundance and some caddis too, and a new player. I was fortunate to fool the first fish, a stocky 19″ brownie, before the wind got worse. The velocity and frequency of the gusts seemed to increase with the intensity of the hatch. Not the first time I have lived that phenomena on a Catskill river.
I worked that second riser with various flies and adjusted tippets, but the winds refused to let me consistently make the perfect presentation. Too many casts, as the desire to grab a little of that trout’s energy for a moment and a dance around the river overcomes logic and reason. If the winds allow 15% of your presentations to be just right, there is no reason to make the other 85% of those casts. I know this and yet…
I am still seeing plenty of out of state license plates along the rivers, small groups of guys close together, without any masks or semblance of good judgement. I guess we as a people have taken the idea of American freedom too far. So many believe they can do whatever they want and nothing can touch them. More than 75,000 have learned they were wrong.
I am fortunate to be fishing, for that is what I retired to do. The idea was to spend the last few years of my life on the rivers of my heart, the one place where things seem right, where Nature’s energy and serenity envelop my weary mind. I resent the fear each time I hear a car door along the river bank. Fly fishing was once about courtesy, the pursuit of gentlemen, and each of us left his fellow angler to fish in peace when coming second to a pool. To hope that, under penalty of death at least, such courtesy and common sense might prevail again seems a foolish thought.
I will hope for better times.