Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter Windows

Full on weekend warrior status occurs in the winter time where the opportunities from work are restricted to a few precious Saturdays and Sundays. Fingers are always crossed hoping for a good weather window but more often than not, the temperature is terribly low. Every now and then, the stars align and you get to fish a winter day with temps in the 40s and 50s. Although rare, these days don't always guarantee good fishing but at least the fingers and toes aren't that upset. When I wasn't failing miserably at musky fishing from a SUP, I found a few good big water browns, small water gems, and even caught a few on top.

The last few days of my winter break brought Ryan and I to a section of river that we never fished. Around noon, we approached a long deep hole leading up to a slight bend in the river.  A tough nut to crack in the midst of winter and low water temps. I settled on working the slowest piece of water I could find, which we like to call the couch water. I worked the water well, like I was vacuuming my living room and I had little to show for it. I added a piece of 7x and a size 22 midge larva to the end of my pheasant tail. Towards the end of a long drift, my indicator stopped and I lifted into a head thrasher. I immediately knew it was a good fish and tried to keep focused with line peeling off my reel and a good amount of debris in the water. All alone, I netted the 22 inch wild brown. It's always cool when the size of the fly matches the size of the fish. 

Later on, during what was a slow day, I arrived at another deep bend pool. I was on the outside of the bend with a hard current at my feet. The inside looked appetizing and I was thankful for the two hander to get some extra reach and line control. After a few small fish, I went deeper and added a third nymph to my rig. I settled on a flash-baetis frenchie and hooked up with the fine specimen above on my first cast. A nice winter net filler...

Ryan doing work...

A few from a small stream jaunt...

A mid-January weekend with higher than normal temperatures brought Ryan and I to another northeast Pennsylvania stream. Ryan fished streamers and immediately moved several fish in the increasing water temperatures before eventually connecting with this solid brown. After a winter of nymphing, Ryan was pumped to have his streamer attacked.

I stuck with nymphing the deep slow runs with large nymphs to simulate stoneflies as well as big caddis and cranefly larva. It was an untypical approach that I don't have a lot of confidence in, but I followed Ryan's suggestions. It eventually paid off with this beauty of a 21 inch brown. The fish was a little thin from the winter/spawn, but still filled the net and put a big ole smile on my face.

Another solid one, this time on a much smaller nymph. 

Matt finding a good one with the sun providing a nice respite from the cold air. 

One of my final winter trout trips brought me to Valley Forge National Park and its large population of wild brown trout. They inhabit Valley Creek which attracts fly fishermen from all around the surrounding area. With higher temperatures melting some of the last snow of the year, I found a pod of rising fish eating midges and blue winged olives in the film. I brought along an older rod that I purchased on my sixteenth birthday. A 762-2 St. Croix Legend Ultra paired with a G. Loomis Venture fly reel. It had been awhile but I eventually got used to tossing a long leader on a two weight line and found my rhythm. I missed several fish before switching to a thread body BWO snowshoe emerger and snagging a nice little brown.

No comments: