Frost

The frost is heavy this morning as I awake and make my way down the stairs. So many mornings I have felt the anticipation for the days’ fishing, but now that feeling is quelled. This week, November comes calling, and I will park the drift boat and prepare it for winter.

I will sort through the myriad items that have acquired temporary homes on my fly tying desk and store most of them away, including all of those Gordons and Hendricksons hastily removed from my primary fly boxes back in June. These flies will be returned to those primary boxes, the Wheatley’s that will not find their homes in my vest pockets until April. Along the way, I will make notes as to the patterns that will be tied during winter, when that irresistible urge strikes me to touch something of spring.

The mature wild brown trout of the Catskills are either spawning or recovering at this time of year, and it is now that I table my desires to be on the rivers daily and leave them to their rest. Depending upon the particular character of the onset of winter, I may welcome a handful of days to return to walk the riverbanks and swing some description of a soft hackled fly through the glides and runs ones they have regained their strength. Winter shall decide my fate.

The field will call to me this month, more so once the fever of my fishing passion has diminished a bit. It is hard just now, in this season of withdrawal. Yesterday afternoon was gently warm and glorious, yet I stayed inside to fight the terrible urge to take up my rod and reel and walk the rivers. It is easier if I sit quietly and ponder the morning frost. The morning sun has climbed the mountains to the southwest and lights the curtain here in my window. From it’s appearance, it could be summer, for it still holds that warmth and color, not the cold, austere light of winter.

The storied Beaver Kill reaches it’s terminus as it flows into East Branch, New York where the bolstered East Branch Delaware plummets through the chutes once known as the Jaws of Death.

Looking forward, November’s first week looks to include a parade of afternoons in the sixties, and that will make my transition ever more difficult. Fine weather is meant for fishing after all!

I always encounter someone who speaks of trout rising in November, yet I demure, I maintain my withdrawal. Surface food is beyond scarce at this season, and I leave the recovering trout to it. Invariably I shall not harry them as they forage for nymphs upon the bottom. They have provided a long and beautiful season for the fly fisher, and richly deserve the chance to prepare for winter unscathed.

I have collected a few books during the season, older volumes to join the list of my winter reading. I am not there just yet, for the good weather deserves to be enjoyed afield. There will no doubt be many long runs of icy, frigid days when a short walk about town will be my only respite.

A bright winter morning along the Delaware.

Thoughts of better days shall be recalled to sustain me as winter marches slowly on. Many cold mornings will be spent tying dry flies, their fate being such that they shall not see bright water for months. Each must wait to entice a trout, as must I!

As I ponder the long months ahead, I dream…

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