Snow covered banks crowd the water’s edge. Where gravel bars, rounded boulders, and fallen logs once delineated the channel boundary, snow, and ice envelope any feature blurring the distinction between flowing stream and frozen floodplain. The landscape is a stunning example of states of water, enough to make any science teacher proud.
Each step along the streambank leaves a preserved marker of the path taken. Approaching the stream, I edge out, hoping my memory of the topography matches reality. Immediately my feet feel a cold sting as my wading boots submerge into the frigid water. I am reminded that melting snow drops the temperature of the receiving waters. I’m prepared with cold weather gear and a determined mindset, but the cold is formidable. Battling my pride, I realize it will be safer to limit my time in the water.
Fighting ice in the guides, painful feet, and frozen fingers, my time on the water ended without catching a fish. About halfway home the pain in my feet subsided, but I still longed to be on the river. Once I got home and completely thawed out, I went through my fly boxes. Taking inventory of my flies, I identified needs to refill my boxes. I began organizing nymphs by weight, to help me on future trips and it helped me to stay connected to my time on the river.
On several bad weather days over the past few weeks, I’ve spent some time researching streams to fish later in the year. I’m mapping access locations and planning to group several of them together geographically. Following advice from my past blogs, I am using available tools to target several streams in Pennsylvania and New York.
Along with planning, Fly Fishing Show season has begun, with the first event in Denver, Colorado. Next weekend, I am headed to New Jersey to attend the show in Edison. The Fly Fishing Shows bring together many vendors, authors, and celebrity fly tiers to promote angling and share information. This year, I am fortunate to be able to attend as an author, and I will be signing books at the author booth for two sessions, one Friday and one Saturday. I look forward to meeting authors I admire and pretending to be one myself. 🙂 Maybe I’ll get to sign a book or two. I will also have a booth at the Maryland Fly Fishing Show in March, a first-rate gathering of local fly anglers, vendors, and speakers.
If weather, physical limitations, or responsibilities prevent you from fishing in the winter, there are many things to fill your angling fix. Tying flies, organizing gear, researching new locations or techniques, and going to fly fishing shows are fantastic fly fishing activities. There are also many wonderful books about angling, winter can be the time to catch up on reading.
Keep Mending…and stay warm…