The river had been frozen completely across for the past 2 months. It took two days of higher-than-normal flows to blow the ice out. The ice chunks thrown on shore by the increase in water were a solid 3-4 inches thick, and rather mean-looking when stacked three feet high.
As Dane and I made our way to the river I said that we'd "be heroes or zeroes," not knowing at the time whether there was ice on top of the river. When we made our way around the corner and saw open, flowing stream, we each let out a small gasp of excitement and made our way down.
No footprints on the bank, but fisherman were present at our honey hole. We moved upstream and hit the producer. A bend that starts as a shallow riffle and then dives into a fast run of medium depth, it ends with a deep, froggy-water lie, perfect for drifting a bobber through. Soon, it starts to snow.
Knowing the bucket, I worked out line, imagining what I would do when the fish took the fly. On the second cast a stick snags my fly, oh, wait, THE STICK IS MOVING, fish on! Here we go, keep the line tight. Fight her down through a heavy riffle only to have Dane tail the beautiful girl on the inside of the next downstream bend. Seven pounds of chrome. Nothing better.
Awhile longer, and we move again. The snow is really falling now. Up to an inch of snow covers Dane and I, and golfball sized snowflakes are dropping all around us. Dane catches a nice brown...
We arrive at another popular spot, which Dane always claims is the "best spot on the river." He proves it. Hooking a nice hen, he fights it through the rapids at the bottom of the run. Keep it tight. KEEP IT TIGHT, I'm thinking, watching Dane play the fish expertly into the shallows were I tail her. We get the obligatory hero shots, and send the lil' lady on her way. "I love watching as they swim off," Dane says.
It's snowing even harder now, and seven inches of the white stuff covers what was formerly bare-earth when we had started the day. Good fishing in a snowstorm. What an incredible thing! Ended up landing those two adults and one skip, with a nice little brownie thrown in between the both of us. The weather, however, is what we'll remember about this day...
Frozen river 2/18/11
Open river 2/20/11
Fighting a fish in the snow 101