34 °F water, shelf ice, and not a fish to be found.
Saturday was one of those marathon days. I had been fishing for seven hours straight, with no break and no lunch. No fish, not even a single take. I was thinking of throwing in the towel.
With the incipient snow storm, I had decided to hit the Farmington before many of the car pullouts were snowed in. It seemed like a good idea at the time!
I tried all sorts of spots and every technique on multiple fly rods. I had to keep taking ice off the guides, and it was quite chilly. But, few anglers were out, and it was glorious to be outside.
The cold water made for a great excuse as to why the skunk stalked me all day. But, then, fish hawk and guide Dave Machowski and I split water…and, he proceeded to land quite a few fish.
It clearly was not my kind of day.
So, at Hour Seven, I contemplated leaving. For some unknown reason, I decided to keep at it. A hot sandwich was tempting, but I also decided to forego lunch and stay on the water. Just max out and go down swinging.
This may sound weird, but, I decided to “let go” and not think. I decided to fish and not worry about things. After all, isn’t that the point of fly fishing, to enjoy one’s self and not make it seem like work?
And, then, it happened.
At a remote corner of the river, where I’ve never seen any anglers, I felt a grab downriver of me. Miraculously, I didn’t set the hook too soon, lifted the rod slightly and felt that familiar and very exhilarating pull of a good fish.
There was a bit of a tussle, as this brown fought with skill and determination. Thankfully, some good luck and rod angles saved the day.
The fish was a beauty and taped at 17″. The low-light conditions made for photos that don’t really capture the brilliance of the fish’s red spots and coloring. It looked clean, had nice and intact fins, and was brilliant. It was a relief and so joyful to have a fish in the net at long last, and a good one, too!
Winter fly fishing is always a challenge. But, there’s always a shot at a good fish.
So, four hours of driving, nine hours of fishing with no break, a dash home to beat the snow storm, and all was well.