Winter Fly Fishing One Day at a Time

The film of salt on my windshield is getting thicker and I’m wondering how I’ve forgotten to check the wiper fluid before taking off this morning. I pull over one more time to throw snow on it and hoping it’s the last time before getting to the creek. I don’t get here too often, probably because the big water has such an appeal to me lately. I remember cutting my teeth here years ago. Learning each pocket and pool, tightening my loops, and understanding the way of trout. I could wax poetic about small mountain runs and their charm, like the special sound small water makes, and the shimmering gem-like brook trout that live there but I’ll refrain before I give myself a bellyache from too much wax.

Fishing mountain streams in the winter is hit or miss. I guess that’s no different than other times of the year, but it seems a bit more pronounced. It’s either on or off no in between and the “on” part usually consists of one or two fish max. I pull in to the parking spot and as expected fresh snow with no tracks, just the way I like it. Yes this trip is exactly what the doctor ordered; pure solitude. They’re calling for snow and it’s setting up to be true. It’s spitting flakes, the cloud cover has darkened and the low ceiling is keeping temperatures milder.
Definitely a nymph rig day. I tie on my tried and true two fly set-up consisting of a Walt’s worm on the point and PT Hot Spot for the dropper. If that doesn’t work I’ll throw candy, like an egg or Green Weenie. I still argue that nothing beats felt soles with spikes for grip but today I’m glad to have the Vibram soles. I have given-up my felt-soled boots to help eliminate the spread of disease. Back in the day I was too cheap to have two pair but the trick was felt in the summer and rubber in the winter. I remember walking around like Herman Munster from the build of snow on my felts and I’m glad those days are over.
The water is perfect, clear at the edges, milky green with a hint of turquoise in the center depths. Visibility, about a foot and a half, with good flow for bottom bouncing nymphs. The snow is coming down heavy now. I’m in to my third pool without even a bump and beginning to feel a snowy skunk in my presence. Huge flakes. Wow, it’s beginning to look like a remote adventure right here in my backyard. I could be in Alaska fishing over Dollies or maybe some other snowy existence like the Skeena or the Dean for Steelhead.
I really don’t care if I catch anything. To be out in this weather has its own charm. Everything is super quiet and muffled; like a weathered wool coat. Ahead upstream, the hill slopes higher toward the mountain. A vein of Rhododendron green winds its way upward washing into the snow filled horizon.
Crap, that’s what you get for daydreaming. Drift it through once more. Bang there she is now that’s what I’m talking about. Real beauty, look at the purple halos, orange and white streaked fins. Go on my friend thanks for the icing on the cake.