Friday, April 4, 2014

The Turning Point

Today was notable as it was the first day since last summer that I heard the familiar call of an Eastern Towhee. "Drink-your-teeeeea! Drink-your-teeeeea! Drink-your-teeeeea! Towheeeeee!" A pair of Northern Flickers also showed up today and were busy digging in the lawn for grubs, ants, or whatever they could find. The Coltsfoot has been blooming on the sunny banks along the road and the Spring Peepers in the ponds and marshes have been performing a serenade for anyone willing to listen.

The last few years spring has 'jumped the gun' so to speak which makes this year seem a bit odd although it's actually closer to normal. I suppose that it's good to have to wait now and then, today's world  seems to be filled with so much instant gratification and lack of patience. On the flip side, folks have always complained about winter and wished for it's quick demise so perhaps things aren't so different after all. In any event, I for one will will enjoy the renewal of the land and continue to monitor the 'march northward' of our feathered friends. In the upcoming weeks and months all heck is going to break loose in our woods and waters, in a good way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Renaissance Among the Hemlocks

The winter has been relentless and has lasted longer into March than it has for a long time. With the streams being frozen over for months now I haven't been in a real hurry to get excited about fishing, I guess that can be chalked up to age and experience. There was a time not long ago I would have been trying to fish through any open lanes I could find in the ice, somehow I feel I have moved past that phase and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

The snow is finally gone now although the land is still that barren brown and gray with very little sign of renewal. At long last I decided it was time to do some fishing and packed my gear up and headed out to a special regulation stream. This year I have made a vow to simplify what I take with me to the stream and I slimmed it down to a leather fly wallet full of streamers and a small fly box that contained a few styles of nymphs, some 'garbage flies', a few dries, and some wooly buggers.

While on the water it was hard to forget about winter with the huge slabs of ice lining the banks and the occasional patch of ice flowing by.

It didn't take long until I hooked up with a brown trout on a black marabou streamer. I didn't take a water temperature reading but to say the water was cold would be an understatement.

The action was pretty slow after my initial success but eventually I got into some brook trout that were taken on a streamer that I had named after this particular stream. I guess you could say it's my go-to fly when nothing else seems to be working here. It's a simple tie with nothing more than a round silver tinsel body and a wing of pearl Polar Flash topped with seven strands of peacock herl. Yes, it has to be seven for any other number would be unlucky. I also tie a beadhead version of this streamer using a green bead and a couple wraps of peacock herl behind the bead. This is the version I use to get down into the deeper pools which is what I had to do on this day.

The brook trout seemed to like it just fine.

The Little Mo Special, a bit worn and tattered.
I was worried since I hadn't fished since mid-October that I would feel a bit rusty when I finally made it out but that wasn't the case, it was if I had never stopped. At one point I took a seat in the hemlocks just to listen to the water flow and to stop and take everything all in. This day had been a long time coming so there was no rush.

After moving along and resuming fishing, I decided to quit while I was ahead after landing my third brook trout from the same pool. This was a nice start to the season and I walked away from the stream, the ice, and the trout knowing that the best is yet to come.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Winter Awakening

For nearly five years I kept a blog of my adventures in the outdoors and sometime during the third year of that blog I hit a wall of sorts. The words that once flowed so easily no longer came and anything that was posted was somewhat forced. The question of why I was doing this crossed my mind often and last fall the plug was finally pulled. In retrospect I guess the words were still there, it was the will that had vanished.

The past year has been a time of introspection for me and also observing the human condition. Often I find myself wondering why we as humans make our lives harder than they have to be. It seems that the majority is racing towards something but I haven't quite figured out what that is yet. Even in their 'down time' everyone is racing to accomplish something, it's all in 'the plan' I guess. They call it having a life but it sure seems to take a lot out of them. Living, in the truest sense of the word, doesn't involve schedules or appointed time.

Anymore I find myself observing more than 'doing' while partaking in my outdoor interests. Whether it's sitting on a rock along a stream watching a brown trout rise and sip insects off the surface or sitting in a meadow being pelted in the face by wind, snow, and rain watching a bull elk work a herd of cows. The fly rod or the camera takes a back seat to just watching the moment unfold. To me that's the truest sense of living.

It's late January as I type this and I haven't gone trout fishing since mid-October. There are various reasons for that, the weather, the fact that fall stockings have stopped in the area where I live, that I have to travel to find any decent fishing come fall and winter (now), and that I have been busy doing other things. On my desk is a list of flies that I need to tie up before the weather breaks but it hasn't been started as of yet. I do look back fondly on that last trip though as it was a memorable one when the maples were colored up nicely and so were the brook trout.

I did tie up some flies during the late summer and fall including some streamers of my own creation. I call this one the Psychedelic Rainbow.

If the weather ever breaks it would be nice to sneak in a mid-winter fishing trip, even if it only amounts to going through the motions. It seems that this is going to be one of those unrelenting winters, the kind that can test your sanity at times. There are good memories from the fall and hopes for the spring to help during the worst of it. It's all about being in the here and now though, there are things to see, do, and even observe during the bleakest of winter days. Perhaps that's part of what's brought me back here, writing these things down once more. And so it begins again...