Almost Fishing

I had my waders and boots on, and enough insulation underneath to stay reasonably comfortable. Two pairs of wool socks should be sufficient to keep my toes from solidifying, or at least I hoped so, but I didn’t get to find out.

When the river came into view at close range I was dismayed to find it still muddied from the holiday storm runoff. Flood waters have receded, at least on the West Branch, and with the flow approaching 700 cfs I expected it to be clear. Disappointed, I drove down to the access anyway. I figured I’d take the walk down and give it a shot in any case, get the benefit of the exercise from the foot travel, if only to confirm the cold, muddy water I knew I’d find. Arriving to find a pair of cars parked in the snowy lot took that chance away as well. I wanted to get on the river pretty badly, but not enough to risk a face to face encounter on the trail; not during the heavy surge of Covid infections our sparsely populated little county is experiencing.

Sure enough, when driving back to town I saw two guys in the river, standing just where I had planned to fish. Well, I was almost fishing…

Sub-freezing weather returns tonight, and another winter storm is supposed to be heading here for year’s end, so any chance to wet a line will have to wait for 2021. Lets all hope it is a much safer and more friendly year. I did get some frigid sunshine yesterday morning, enough to get me out for my river walk and some of that fresh winter air. Best to be thankful for the small gifts we receive.

My motivation for fly tying sort of comes and goes. One hundred eighty-three and one half dozen flies I have tied this year have me more than ready for next season, and likely the season after that. I could begin sorting through fly boxes, but there’s an awful lot of winter ahead. I might need that little task one day to stave off the shack nasties, cabin fever, or whatever you might call that madness that creeps into the brain too far removed from mayflies and rising trout.

I do have a couple of books on order, though it might be weeks before I see them. Postal service has become chuck-and-chance-it. There is Schwiebert! I finally acquired his two volume opus “Trout” last spring. I’ve read a little, but saved most of it for winter, as this is my reading season. How I would love to have the chance to walk along the stream with him once again! I am thankful that I can, in some way at least, through his words and my sparks of memory!

The late, great Ernest Schwiebert casts a line on Big Spring

I have fished all over the world thanks to Ernie’s remarkable writing! Trout in Chile and Argentina and throughout the American West have risen to our flies, and the great salmon of Norway have stripped our reels bare as they muscled their way back to the seas! Best of all I can return at a moment’s notice to any of these beats, the finest fly fishing in all the world lies at my fingertips, right there on the shelf. Yes, I think I’ll go there now…

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