Monday, February 1, 2016

Is it spring already?

It has certainly been an unusual winter season around here.  This past December felt more like a typical November, then January brought a cold streak and some snow and lately we're back in a warming trend.  Even the birds are confused this year.  This week I saw a robin hanging around the yard and was wondering if it had come back early or never left!  


As I left church in the early afternoon I could feel the warm sun and the air just smelled like spring.   The remaining afternoon offered a short window of daylight so off I went for a walk in the woods with a camera, a fly rod, and a small box of flies in my pocket.  As it turned out I only needed one.

In the sun, the air was warm but in the shadow of the hills there was a chill in the air perhaps from the wind passing over the little remaining snow in the woods.  Even though there were still a couple hours before sunset the angle of the sun at this time of year put me in the cool shadows most of the afternoon.  Today I wanted to fish a dry and I was convinced that during the heat of the day small stoneflies would have been out in abundance, so I committed to a small, dark elk hair caddis and stuck with it.

The first brook trout of the afternoon
The melting snow from a week of warmer weather had the brook running at a modestly healthy level.  It was pleasant music to the ears but still quite cold in spite of the warm air.  I was pleased to find a small brook trout willing to rise to the caddis in the first likely holding spot and confirmed that my desire to fish only a dry was not complete lunacy.  


Places like this usually held a trout willing to rise to a small fly

In tiny pockets of calm off a rock or a piece of dead-fall the small dry would bring a fish up to the surface to either inspect the fly and return or to take advantage of a potential meal.  It was good to be outside again enjoying a brief respite from winter.  We will see what the rest of winter brings


A wonderfully colored brook trout

20 comments:

  1. Mark
    The weather here today is in the seventies and tornados are expected for tomorrow. Beautiful brook, glad you were able to get out and enjoy the streams. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - hopefully you won't have any damaging weather down your way. Up here in the northeast we tend to forget that mild weather for us can mean dangerous weather further south.

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  2. Sounds like a great outing and, man, really cool to see the fish looking up!

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    1. Will - Thanks. Brook trout in small streams will "look up" most of the year unless there is ice covering the streams! T

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  3. The weather in pa. Since our big snow storm has also be very nice. The fish have also been cooperative but not on top. That's neat you were able to get them On a dry. Unusual to get so many opportunities this winter.

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    1. Brad - In my experience small stream trout will generally take a dry fly most of the year, especially in streams where the deeper sections are 1-2 feet deep. Trout in these types of streams can generally see everything on the surface pretty easily and will be opportunistic enough to rise if they see a potential meal. In larger (deeper) rivers the trout will be too deep to opportunistically rise in the winter

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  4. I'm sitting here in Colorado under a Winter Storm Warning...blizzard conditions tonight and tomorrow. Thanks for quenching my thirst.

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    1. Howard - Sounds like it's time to tie some flies. I've not traveled out west much but I do fondly remember fishing out in Utah one frosty morning to a ton of trout taking midges before the sun came over the mountains and put them down. Hope you can find a few soon!

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  5. The weather just feels strange to me, as it did last winter when its character seemed completely opposite. Hopefully we'll continue to have sufficient precipitation. I also fished on Sunday afternoon and found the streams to be quite low and clear. I can't seem to get the rivertop trout to rise to the surface (water too cold?) but found them willing to take a nymph. Thanks Mark.

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    1. Walt - I guess even the celebrity groundhog thinks spring is just around the corner! Your river top streams are probably a little deeper than some of the small streams around here but on the warmer days I will see trout taking midges in the slack water and tailouts of tiny pools. Do you ever see those almost imperceptible dimples on your river top streams?

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  6. Beautiful! The weather here has been great, as well. Warm and Spring is definitely on the way, and I'm getting excited for it. Really awesome you were able to hook up with those brooks on a dry fly. Was there any sort of hatch when you were fishing or did you decided that's what they were going to bite?

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    1. Justin - I did see a few small stoneflies in the air and thought that during the warmer part of the day there were probably more. This is fairly typical for our area in the winter. I usually find a dark brown or black caddis (#16/18) will attract interest. When that doesn't work I will try a small Adams parachute since it's a decent midge imitation.

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    2. Very cool, man. I really want to try and hone my trout fishing skills the next two years. I should probably pay attention to the bugs more.

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    3. Justin - One of the things I really enjoy about fly fishing for trout is noticing what's going on all around me. If you start paying attention to the bugs you see it will really help narrow down the possibilities. There will be times of year when certain patterns work well and you can even get hints based on the wildflowers that are blooming since they are sensitive to air and soil temperatures and will give you an idea of what's coming in terms of insect life. For small freestone stream brook trout fishing it isn't so important but really helps on larger rivers were there is more insect life. Enjoy the learning!

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  7. it's great to be here at this time, I have a trip with my team this weeken!

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    1. Luis - have fun out there! Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring

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  8. You had great weather to be out and about!!! Nice going. Glad someone is getting out and catching a few.

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    1. Pete - thanks! This time of year you have to take advantage of these little breaks in the typical winter weather

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  9. It may seem a little like spring now but I can't wait for winter to be over and get back out on the water. Seeing your trout just makes it feel like April can't get here fast enough.

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    1. Kiwi - I don't mind the seasons and winter in particular, I just try to enjoy whatever we have at the moment but it does seem like we will have a mild winter this year but there still is a long way to go. Have faith, spring will come (it does ever year at the appointed time)!

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