Thursday, December 17, 2009

First Snow.



An early wake up call has me up and out of bed. I have a date with some brown trout I have been meaning to catch. I slowly ease into several layers of fleece and head out into the kitchen, my dogs at my heels. My 83 year old grandmother is already busy cleaning the house. She resembles more of a 65 year old and moves more like a 50 year old. Her life based around hard work, always moving, always fixing, always cleaning. Non-stop. A work ethic honed on the home front during WWII. She takes one look at me and pops the question. "Are you going fishing?" I answer "yes," and she gives me a short lecture about how I shouldn't be going out in this kind of weather, especially alone, during hunting season. I mentally register her wisdom knowing full well that she is probably right. She usually is. I quickly grab some breakfast and get my gear together. Only the essentials. The date will be short and I need to be back in time for a wedding.

Tight Quarters.

Caddis Pupa.

First Brown of the Day.

The air outside is bitingly cold and feels of snow, the forecast saying several inches are on the way. It will be my first snow fall of the year. I hit the road and head up over the mountain taking note that it is December and the ski slopes are snow less. Not for long. I decided on taking the scenic route rather than the highway. I prefer a narrow windy road over the boredom of monotony. Along the way I take note of all the water I am passing over. The flows are high and slightly off color. Perfect for where I am heading. A tiny freestone stream home to beautiful wild brown trout. In the summer, they are almost impossible to catch, spooking well before you see them. This time I will have the advantage. Arriving the water is roaring and the stream has turned into a mini-Savage River. Heaven. I hit the stream just as the first snow is falling from the sky.

Mini-Savage.

Soft Hackle.

The Water Was Really Warm.

Spots.

A lot More Spots.

video

Short Unexciting Clip.

I ease into the fast water careful not to make too much of a disturbance. Casting room is tight. Evergreens hang over the water on the far bank and thorn bushes and other foliage on the other side. I almost regret bringing an 864 rod but it actually comes in handy managing my line in the current conditions. Soon, several nice browns come to hand working a slow seem under the evergreens. The fish are taking shelter in along the edges, away from the fast currents. They are eagerly picking off anything floating their way including a heavily weight soft hackled hares ear. The browns are gorgeous still sporting their fall colors. They fight extra hard in the fast currents. Some pulling as hard as a twenty inch stocky. I start to make my way upstream. The higher flows have created wading conditions similar to the Savage too. I am extra careful.

Elevation Change.

Snow, Cold, & Camera = Blurry Pictures.

Awesome Dark Spotted Brown.

Small Stream Love.

I approach a long deep hole that I know holds a very large brown trout for the stream. I have fooled him twice before and he has also schooled me twice before. I start working the long deep run and catch several fish. Puzzled I stand up out of my kneeling stance checking out the new seems created by the high flows. A new small back eddy had formed along the far side cliff. I moved upstream and drifted my nymph through the eddy high sticking to keep my line away from the current flowing downstream. The nymph follows the back eddy against the current and the big brown takes. He is pushing sixteen inches and I bring him slowly towards me as he does his best to pull into a slate overhang. He tires and I bring him into my feet. As I bend over, he makes one last move and shakes the barbless hook darting back to his lair. All I can do is smile. The snow is coming down hard now and all is peaceful.

Golds.

Deep Hole, Browns Hanging Out in the Slow Stuff.

Biggest Landed of the Day.

Gorgeous Fish.

Thanks, Little Guy.

As I return home, the ski slopes are covered in a nice layer and the mountain is obscured in an enveloping snow storm. Everything has a fresh coat of white and it adds to the overall experience. A little over an hour on a small stretch of wild water and my addiction is satiated for the day. Arriving home, my grandmother is still cleaning. She is surprised to see me back so soon. She thinks the weather scared me off the water and is happy to see me back home. So are the dogs and I head back out into the fray for some fun.

Mountain Top.

Riley Wants Hunting Season To End.

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