Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Just Winter

I walk along the exposed rocks of a winter river that is far to low, cold and clear. Runs that were once too swift and deep for my fly are now at a summer level and seem to spitefully grab ahold of my feathered creation to keep as their own.
The slate grey sky and bone chilling cold makes me anxious like I might be trapped in this place by some freakish accident forever. I am mindful that I have strayed above the normal waters of most anglers much like a wayward hatchery steelhead would and I double check to make sure my truck is parked where I left it. The fish are absent and with no apparent precipitation forthcoming I use this trek as an excuse to practice my Skagit style casting. The opposite shoulder technique that my friend John is so good at comes hard to me and I cop out on fishing the river left bank of the winter stream in favor of the double spey which I can do with some ease.
I know that winter is just the price we must pay for spring and summer as any patient angler knows but it seems like the grip that winter holds is relentless.I know it's just my longing for warmth that makes it seem so permanent. I know it's just winter and unremarkable from any winter past for me. With so much uncertainty in the world these days the people I meet on the stream bank have an anxious and worried look about them. I truly feel for those who have lost their homes and jobs because of the recession that has a stranglehold on us all....a cold winter seems to just make the anxiousness and worry more tangible.
The daylight is noticeably longer now however and with the advent of baseball's spring training the hope of spring and rising trout is more than just some whimsical notion by an old, broke down angler like me. It's the promise of spring that sustains me through these winter months.
I've seen pictures of the first March Browns of the season so I am hopeful.
The best part of the winter steelhead season is still ahead though and the torrential rains that will fill the river are sure to return and I will shrug my shoulder as to dismiss my silly winter rants.
Here is hoping that all of you are anticipating the end of winter as you oil your reels, clean your fly lines and tie more trout flies than you'll ever need.

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