Saturday, December 9, 2017

December

Frost in the river grass
The days are certainly getting colder now.  As I write, we are getting our first accumulating snow in CT this season.  I love fishing the colder, gray days of late fall and early winter.  The spring and summer are full of better days for catching fish, but you can't beat the calm and solitude of an early winter day.  But in order to enjoy these days you have to dress with plenty of layers to stay warm.  I enjoy getting a large cup of coffee in the morning and putting 2/3 of it in my thermos to have for breaks when driving between spots.  I can put coffee in my little 16 oz thermos at 7am and it's still very hot at 4pm (I will have to post an equipment review on it)!  A chemical hand warmer in the wader chest pocket keeps the hands warm and with less anglers on the river, I can walk around a lot and cover lots of ground which helps keep the feet warm.

Except for a brief break throwing small flies to fish rising well beyond reach, I fished nymphs.  I didn't catch a lot of fish but the ones I did find were on the larger side.  I started late morning in an area that fishes well for me in late fall.  After working a caddis pupa and an foam egg with a small spit shot in front of the egg without any fish, I switched to a frenchie and a zebra midge and started working back upstream to where I started.  About midway up the run, the sighter stopped and I could feel the heavy but gentle throb of a nice fish holding tight to the bottom.  I stayed patient and remained downstream as the standoff took place in about a foot and a half of water.  It felt like the fish was attached to the bottom with suction cups and when I got my first decent look, I could see it was a large, dark brown. I managed to get it close but made the fatal error of trying to pull it upstream to slide the net under it.  The 5x gave way at the fly and off went a beast of a brown.  I don't honestly know how big it was but it looked like it would have been my best fish of the year.  I continued working my way back and found a decent rainbow so at least I had one in the net.  I changed the rig again and worked my way back down but didn't connect with any fish so I hiked back to the truck for some hot coffee and something to eat.

the consolation prize

I tried a few more spots in the afternoon without any success but I had one last section that I wanted to try before the end of the day.  It was a cloudy day so by late afternoon the light was fading and the air was getting colder.  I managed to cross the river without getting wet and fished an area I had explored for the first time this past summer.  I had a hunch that there might be a fish or two holding in the slower, deeper runs.  As I approached the section I could see clearly the run I had noticed this past summer and it wasn't long before I was tight to another hefty fish that took the anchor fly (frenchie).  This one was a male rainbow that was quite dark and very heavy.  I stayed patient and downstream trying to keep side pressure on the fish.  As with the brown, I was fighting this fish in shallow water that was moving a little more quickly than the softer water were I had hooked it so I needed to be careful to not to let the fish get downstream of me.  With some patience I managed to get the fish in the net.  At that point, I called it a day and made my way back across the river thankful to have spent the day outside finding a couple of quality fish.


19 comments:

  1. Mark
    Nice rainbows!! Solid looking !! Glad you got into a few.

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    1. Thanks Pete. That was one thick rainbow across the back. It wasn't a long fish but heavy

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  2. Mark both fish are beautiful but thumbs up on that second one.
    Hot coffee on a cold outing is one of the best things of winter fishing. You can't count of the fish but "oh that coffee"

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    1. Alan - those little breaks for something hot make for as very enjoyable day

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  3. Mark
    Colorful rainbow taken; I see you are using the rubber net, I ditched my cloth net sometime ago, less hook hassle with the rubber net. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - I don't like cloth nets because the flies get snagged in them easily and the rubber is less abrasive on the fish making for a better catch and release net

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  4. Two beauties, Mark! Bummer about the brown.
    I agree. The quiet, gray days of Winter, with less folks out, are so peaceful.

    Ed (Maryland)

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    1. Nice to hear from you Ed! At least I know where that brown sometimes hangs out. Those quiet winter days are wonderful!

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  5. Nice rainbows. As for the large brown, maybe he'll give you a second chance there.

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    1. Rowan - Thanks, that second rainbow was a really nice fish. I don't know how much large browns move around in the river but I hope to fish that section again with hopes of finding it.

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  6. Some beauties there Mark. Glad you got to enjoy some great day's afield!

    Will

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    1. thanks Will, there's just something enjoyable about being out on days like these!

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  7. Beautiful fish caught, Mark, in the peacefulness of a winter's outing. Sorry about that brown that got off...would have loved to see that one come to net for you.

    I fished for a couple of hours on Saturday during the snow. It was so peaceful being out there...just me and the river. One 14" rainbow came to net with the most subtle of hits.

    Best,
    Sam

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    1. Nice going Sam! Glad to see you are enjoying what winter fishing has to offer

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  8. Mark, I love when the river giveth and the river takes away. It always gives me even more incentive to go back and try again. Beautiful rainbows, I would be very happy with that last rainbow as a consolation prize. Thanks for post.

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    1. Brad - it isn't the first time I've lost a decent fish or the last but knowing that a large trout is a possibility does fill each trip with the anticipation of what could happen!

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  9. No question, winter fishing is a challenge but a lot of fun if you enjoy the solitude. And a fish that bores at the bottom as if with "suction cups" and then gets away is a fish that brings us out again.

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    1. So true Walt! Two good reasons to not stay inside this winter, the challenge and the possibility of encountering a nice fish.

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