I finally broke away and got to the river for a few hours. It feels like I made it through a narrow window. It was in the 40's today, but another cold snap is expected over the weekend.
There was snow on the ground, but the melt was on, and I was never uncomfortably cold. Just uncomfortable about climbing down those snowy rocks with felt wading boots on.
But I made it. And there I was. Fishing in the river. It has been a long time.
I swung the new articulated fly, what I shall call Prototype One. It swam well, and I gave it a good workout.
I was fishing deep. I often felt the fly bumping over the bottom cobble, and it got hung up more than once. So I was surprised when, after three quick bumps, one of those rocks took off with my fly.
I knew right away it wasn't a steelhead. I wasn't feeling those heavy tugs and pulls that you get with a good steelhead. Best this fish could do was jerk on the fly. I let it go for a few jerks before setting the hook, but I missed it.
Might have been a trout, but my guess is that it was a little smallmouth.
I turned and set my sights on The Glide, and started the wade upstream.
All along the way there were signs of spring to enjoy. This new feather for my hat came floating down right into my hand.
There is stark and beautiful evidence everywhere that winter is slowly but surely letting go.
Keeping me company in the bankside bushes and trees were flocks of energetic Cedar Waxwings, and mixed in with them were Robins, the first I've seen and heard this spring. There was a joyous swirl of singing birds overhead the whole way.
I waded up to the head of The Glide and worked it back downstream. The best way to fish it is from the gravel bar on the other side, but the river is just deep enough and fast enough that I didn't risk a crossing. I covered as much water as I could, but nothing came to the fly.
So I waded back down to the bridge. I got in a hurry on the way back, maybe didn't give the river its due, started feeling a little cocky about how well I was wading. So the river, as rivers will do, put me on my knees for it. I repented, and got up, and went more carefully on my way.
I didn't get soaked, but I did get wet, and my left shin got whacked pretty good. I immediately soaked it in ice water, and that helped.
Back at the bridge I fished some more. Maybe I was getting tired, but I let my line get just a little too close to the bridge pylon, and on the retrieve I snagged something that wouldn't move. There are often twisted tangles of sticks and logs wrapped around those pylons, and I had already dredged up a couple of branches when I had fished there earlier. This time I think I had snagged the whole jam.
So I had to break off Prototype One.
I fished another fly for a little while longer, but it finally felt like I had accomplished enough for the day. I hadn't hooked or landed anything. But a fish--and it only takes one--had given my Prototype One its unequivocal stamp of approval.
I climbed back up to the truck feeling validated. And eager to get back to the river again.
Still wanting to get in the river. It's up a little. Might stir things up. I hear some guys are picking up the odd steelhead "here and there."
I'd be happy even with an odd one.
So I'm tying up the odd fly here and there. Mostly smaller--6's and 8's. I've had good fortune with this type fly before.
With those and other former steelhead in mind, I decided to cover all the bases and finally take the leap into big articulated flies. Sometimes a fool notion just comes over you. So this was my first stab at it.
Yeah, I know, it needs some work. I'll get right on it.
In the meantime, no offense, but I'll let the fish be the final judge of this puppy.
Today is the birthday of George Harrison. He was born in 1943, and died too soon in 2001.
It goes without saying that he was a major part of the soundtrack of my generation. But more than that, he became a courageous advocate for the best that humanity can be. I admired him as a gentle prophet. And I miss his incisive voice.
So Happy Birthday, George, and thanks for the light. It's still shining.
We're having a welcome spring snow. It's been snowing for two days, and should begin tapering off tonight. The prediction is for sunshine and 46 degrees by Thursday.
But we're enjoying the beauty, and we're glad to be getting the moisture. We're also glad that we won't have long to wait before it's running in our streams and rivers, filling our lakes, and turning the world green. Let it spring snow!