Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Long Dark Tunnel of Winter
"Oh brother! He's starting his winter whine fest early this year"
Well maybe I am. It seems like I never prepare myself for the onset of winter and this year is no different. I know there is still another six weeks until the winter solstice but despite what the calendar says winter is here.
Getting dark at 5pm every day is the biggest clue and I just cannot get used to it. My limited fishing days are impossibly short during this time of year and the chill in the air is a dead give away that winter is indeed here.
I think of winter as a long dark tunnel. You enter at one end in the sun and warmth of summer and as you travel further into the tunnel it gets darker. When you've reached the darkest point there in the distance is the light of spring.
My trout rods are put away for the season and when the days are shortest I'll get out my bamboo rods for a fresh coat of wax and rream of spring but for now I am looking forward to swinging some big winter flies for the tight lipped winter steelhead of the coastal streams. The beginning of the winter steelhead season begins in earnest after the first of the year. In years past the traditional kick-off to the winter season was the day after Thanksgiving but through manipulation by ODFW those early lower river hatchery brats have been eliminated. Instead the broodstock hatchery winter steelhead arrive about the same time as the wild winter steelhead.
Well you all know how I feel about the broodstock fiasco so I will leave it at that.
It seems like just yesterday I was walking along the sands of Kaanapali Beach on Maui or driving over Mt. Hood on my way to the Deschutes.
Now I watch the river level on the Wilson or Trask and wonder when the inevitable floods will come.
I'll make the best of it all though because fly fishing is not just a spring and summer pursuit anymore.
I cannot wait for the days along my favorite stream trying to entice a sluggish winter steelhead into striking a fly that seems big enough to choke a horse.
I've yet to start up my winter fly tying blitz but it's coming as it does when I get cabin fever.
So here is hoping that the north coast does not have another 100 year flood for the third year in a row.
Hope you all are dealing with the winters of your own lives well.