We're taking it one day at a time around here. Monday was the second day in a row that broke the 60 degree barrier. Maybe we'll have some more, maybe not. No one here assumes we're in the clear yet. But in the meantime we're making the most of it.
I made the most of it by hitting the river again. What a difference a few days make. Last week it was steely and cold. This week it was sunny and mild. Last week I was chilled within an hour. This week it took me all afternoon to finally feel chilled. Last week I lost two trout. This week I finally landed one.
I started right in on the Bridge Run, and in the course of the afternoon I thoroughly covered the water all the way down to that dark shadow on the right bank.
But I caught the trout within the first fifteen minutes. It was hanging out near the downed tree that was such a pain in the ass until it shifted over against the bank. The trout came out hard and fast and nailed the fly just as it was shifting into high gear on its swing. I got it to hand out in mid-channel but couldn't get a photo-op grip on it, so I waded in for the photo shoot.
It was a strong, beautiful fish--and one a long time coming--so I think it deserves three photos.
And the fly deserves a little attention, too. It was the Royal Coachman Bucktail I tied up last month. It's always a kick to see a fly you tied, and really liked, in the jaws of a good fish.
That was fun. Nice to have the tree providing cover for fish and plenty of room now to go after them.
From there it was about getting serious (do I look serious?) and covering the water--with nothing to lose.
I figured I might catch another trout or two, but I was also intent on finding out if a Steelhead or two was lurking in the tail of the run.
I didn't find them, if they were there. I switched to a Stonefly nymph and fished it with and without the sink tip, but there was nothing. I did dredge up a lot of sticks and branches, though.
After fishing out the run I walked back up the well-worn fisherman's trail to the bridge.
I took a quick break under the bridge, then went out and took another pass through the head of the run.
I got some teasing bumps in mid-riffle, so worked it over carefully, then reeled in some line and started over on that section. I finally hooked another trout on a fast strip, but it came off before I could see it.
That's when I sensed a difference in how I was feeling and fishing. I felt the grip of that old familiar friend of the fly fisherman: obsession. I was getting cold, it was getting dark, I had already caught a nice fish, it was time to go--but I didn't want to quit. You know how it goes: just one more cast...OK, now just one more cast...
That's another sign of Spring, in my book.
So I went right back after that fish again...and promptly snagged and had to break off the Stonefly. OK, I can take a hint. I waded out, packed up, and headed home.
I get it. This was one day. There will be other days. Yes, we'll take it one day at a time. Blah, blah, blah...