Twenty degrees this morning, though the bright sunshine has returned to restart the warming cycle with a new week of spring weather in the offing. Now I will begin to search in earnest for the first hatches of the season. Despite the warmth of March I have seen only the little stoneflies, tempting to the trout in warmer climes, though ignored here once again. Olives should be on the water, though the bright skies which lead to warming rivers are not conducive to heavy emergences of these faithful little flies.
I am hopeful that the rivers’ flirtation with fifty degree temperatures has awakened the stream life, that those several warm days in March urged the nymphs forward in their last push to maturity. Early hatches are a rare blessing in the Catskills, one not seen by this angler in a decade. I can picture the cloud cover increasing on a warm afternoon, and a stirring of life in the quiet water. Tiny wings upon the surface, just a few, sporadic but there, and the first soft dimple appears. There, along the bank that was long in the glare of sunshine, but now lies in shadow! Was that trout there all along?
Fingers tremble knotting a wisp of silk and CDC to the thin tippet; shoulders tighten with anticipation, and eyes scan for the proper casting station. The lobbing stroke of winter and weighted flies is abandoned now, and the wrist action is crisp and short. The tight loop unrolls smoothly and the leader kicks, its energy expended just above the surface, and floats down in soft curves. Dimple, pause and tighten…feel the essence of life in the cane, the electric charge to the spirit brings pure emotion.