If you're any type of fisherman that travels anywhere to fish you've heard it before. You should have been hear yesterday. It's too hot, or maybe too cold. The rivers are too high or too low. The fish were on fire yesterday, today they're just not hungry.
If you've been out over the past few days in our area, you've seen quite the change in conditions from last week to this one. With the way the slush was today on the stream it doesn't quite make sense to tell you that "you shoulda been here yesterday." With that said, I'll give you a better way to think through this cold weather - there's always tomorrow, next week, or April.
This past weekend was one I won't forget, though. Snow was flying, but old man winter hadn't been able to slush the streams and end out fishing quite yet. On Friday a couple guys from the Orvis mothership had made their way down from Vermont for their second annual trip down for steelhead. Although I'm not sure two years is enough documentation to establish a pattern it sure seems that whenever they show up, the cold weather does too.
Regardless, the chance to catch some steelhead in of the roughest fishing conditions in the northeast are a tempting combination for the product development team - but lets be honest...they just want to catch some big fish just like the rest of us.
Christine with her first ever on day 1.
Doug with one of his.
Day two out there was interesting. All morning we were getting hit hard with lake effect snow that just wouldn't go away. However, we had a hunch that some winter water near a good access point would be loaded with fish. As we walked down there we passed a couple of groups of guys - they hooked one, fouled one, and one group hadn't done anything.
As we walked down in to the first good hole on this stretch we weren't really sure what we'd find. Sure enough, the wayyyy inside drift was the money one (and probably the one these other guys hadn't tried) and we started to pick up a bunch of fish.
One of the things that I love about winter is you have to be very precise if you want to hook up with anything - if you drift is a couple inches off, you might as well go home. Luckily for the group on this day we were pretty much spot on. After a couple hours we'd had plenty of fish to the net, a couple doubles, and even a triple header. Here are some of the better shots from the day...
I call this one "hen in winter."
Jimmi Jackhammer and Tim with one of the doubles. That'll keep them warm.
Fast Jimi with a pretty girl.
The catch of the day.
Christine with another day-maker.
We were slaying the skippers.
Every once in a while we'd catch something bigger.
Chasing one down with the net. In all seriousness some of the fish pulled pretty hard despite the freezing temperatures and equally cold water. A couple even went airborne - a couple others tried to, but didn't quite make it.
As we were walking out the water had cleared enough so that you could start to make out structure on the bottom. You probably can't see it in this picture, but there's a nice little shelf at the base of that waterfall.
So I made a couple drifts. And thankfully John Miller, insect lover and photographer extraordinaire, was there to capture what happened next.
A great weekend of fishing always leaves me with one hope - that a great week will follow it up. Of course that wasn't meant to be this time - it's been snowing like a mother ever since.
Snow is still falling, rivers are slushing, but the fish are there. And there's always tomorrow. The high is supposed to be 24 degrees...I guess I'll wear an extra layer.