It doesn’t look like spring, though it certainly feels like it…

After the first real blast of winter weather, complete with snow and howling winds, a miraculous thing has appeared in the first week of November: sunshine! With the sun has come the warmth, and a run of days with highs in the mid-sixties. When all hope seemed lost I grabbed my gear and hurried to the river! The flows are reminiscent of spring time as are the brief, warm afternoons.

I set about swinging flies, certain that the forty degree water would surrender nothing on the surface, yet my faith in that conviction was tested. I was casting and swinging, mending and swinging, all the while dreaming that a nose might break the surface when I saw them; wings in the slick current, and more than a single pair.

There seemed to be a number of mayflies floating down, the rays of the sun lighting their wings – an advertisement, a tease, and I fell for it. I reeled in the fly line, cut the wet fly away and measured four feet of 5X tippet, extending my leader with hands trembling with excitement. A few flies took wing, guaranteeing those were really mayflies I was seeing and not bits of leaves lighted by the sun and animated by the breeze and my imagination. They looked light, and I fumbled for one of the September peach flies still amid the tumble of my summer chest pack.

Every once in a while the quick current would bulge and flip droplets into the air as it slid over a submerged boulder. I wanted it to be a trout, wanted it so badly, coveted the thought of one more dry fly experience. I cast, mended in the air, and watched my fly bob through that little blurp of water with every sense on edge. Nothing; I saw no nose, no flash in the sunlight, so I changed the fly and cast again…

The boulder never rose. Though that little blip of current was irregular, it was current alone that deceived me, twisted the wanting in my heart to make my eyes see something that wasn’t there.

The flies continued; tiny ones, larger ones, flies taking flight from the bright, slick current, though none were interrupted in their journey. Warm sunshine and cold water are not the prime conditions for rising trout in November, no matter how badly I want them to be.

It was early when the sun dipped behind the ridge, bathing the water in shadow, and the breeze betrayed a hint of chill once again. I watched, waited, still clinging to the hope that one fin might break the glassy surface, turning away at last as the shadows crossed the water to envelop me. November…

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