I awakened to a 20 degree morning with 20 inches of fresh fallen snow. I can’t seriously fault the weather sites that forecast an unusually warm La Nina winter as it is still officially autumn. This is the most snow I have seen in this, my third winter in Hancock, and I rather not see any more storms like this one. Believe it or not, we dodged a bullet here. Portions of the Binghamton area, fifty miles to our west, logged forty inches.
All of this is good news for the reservoirs, but bad news for those of us who expect to spend most of our time outdoors this time of year. Late season grouse hunting has been pretty much obliterated by this storm, as the mountains are too treacherous for hunting alone with ice and heavy snowpack. Fishing is, well, lets just say that the low odds of success will be downgraded to miniscule for a while. Heavy snow clogs access areas and parking, and such places are not high priorities for plowing. If it indeed warms up significantly, rapidly melting snow will chill and muddy the rivers. The area will be very lovely, particularly when the sun appears and makes the entire landscape sparkle!
It seems clear it is time to get serious about my off season fly tying. My fly boxes can always benefit from sorting and reconfiguring. Its helps a lot when you can find the new patterns you want to test on the river when you find yourself in the middle of a difficult hatch. To be honest, there are flies I have designed to solve particular problems that have never had a chance to be tested, since I couldn’t find them in the heat of the moment.
There is some material on the way for the soft hackles I have been fishing lately. The package is a day late already, and this storm isn’t going to improve my chances of tying more of those flies real soon. Then again, I have plenty of them to not go fishing for a week!