Some streams I will fish only in a particular season while others I will fish throughout the year. The streams I return to often are like a well worn pieces of clothing, familiar and comfortable. You get to know by experience what will be blooming and where the fish will be holding under various conditions. But that familiarity does not wear old. With each visit there is something new to observe, something unique to discover, if you are alert to little details such as how changes in the landscape indicate changes in the stream. Because nature runs in cycles, what is blooming on the forest floor will often be connected in some way to what insects are active and where trout will be holding as ground temperature is indicative of water temperature.
My last visit to this particular stream was on a cold day in February when snow still covered the ground. While the early morning had a chill in the air, the spring-ward track of the sun was evident and there was a sense of new life that was about to enter. Heavy rains earlier in the week had filled the banks with water and the evidence of flooding was easily seen. Buds were just starting to appear on the trees but the woods are still are clothed in the brown and grey of early spring with the exception of a few coltsfoot blooming on the southerly facing banks of the stream.
The chilly early morning air and the heavier spring-like flow suggested the fish would be out of the main current and would probably not notice a dry fly floating on the surface so I rigged up a dry dropper rig with an easily seen royal wulff and a bead head pheasant tail with a couple turns of partridge trailed behind the dry.
Hiking along the stream with the early morning sun reflecting off the moving water brought a bright pleasant warmth inside. After a winter that seemed to hold on long past it's time, a welcome change was in the air.
I experimented with various dries and nymphs but my initial choice turned out to be the best combination and I enjoy a marvelous morning afield, leaving reassured that the brook trout have survived another winter and hopeful for even brighter days ahead.