Soon, at least we all hope so, and I have a few ideas for
you. I am mostly talking to those of you who are lucky
enough to have some streams or rivers to get back on. The
winters seem way too long and after all the planning and
preparation we all get a little giddy with just the mere
thought of 'Opening Day,' as it is sometimes called.
Here are a few tips for you to think about. For instance,
over the winter that favorite stream you have been remembering
all winter long is gone, gone at least as you exactly remember
it. Things change and you had not better forget it. That
delightful hole you worked so fervently last year may now
be filled in with sand from the winters activity. Even the
normal high run-off of late winter can change things a lot.
In contrast, the gentle glide you fished now has a deep
trough that on a blustery overcast day could overtop your
waders in a heartbeat, especially if you are fishing in
the downstream mode. Be careful of those changing conditions.
There is the possibility too that the nice gravely bottom
of last year is now floored in slippery clay. Will upend
you just as quickly. Approaching an somewhat unknown set
of conditions from upstream may lead you to some shifting
sand or small ball-bearing sized gravel and down you go,
into the deep. It might be a better idea to consider making
your first outing a upstream effort and play it safer.
Something else for you to be on the look out for. How about
pollution? Be on the look out for signs of anything different
from last year. More weeds. Plant growth in a place where it
wasn't last year. Keep an watchful eye out for telltale signs
of contamination, evidence like grey-brown slim objects and
things that just don't smell right. You might not find these
days where a city or community is discharging effluent directly
into your favorite stream, but accidents do happen. So do
unknowing or unscrupulous land owners. Things get into the water
that shouldn't and you might be the only, or at least, the first
line of defense.
On that subject though for a moment. When there is a large amount
of fertilization entering a stream, it does many things, some of
them seemingly for the good. The weeds love the stuff, after all,
it is fertilizer. They grow and they are home for the insects the
fish love to eat. The fish grow well also. The oxygen levels
fluctuate during the days and nights and this is not a very good
situation though. The excessive growth of weeds also slows down
the flow of the stream again reducing the oxygen levels.
Most of us, but certainly not all of us, recycle our fish
these days. It might be tempting to say, we should let the
pollutants pile up some and grow bigger fish for better sport.
The flip side of that is, I at least do not want to catch any
that are unfit to eat. That, for me, is not what this game is
all about. I would much rather go after a slightly smaller
version that is in pure crystalize environments than in a
How about taking someone with you? Many fly shops have closed
down lately and the big-box guys aren't really tripping over
themselves to give free instruction on much of anything.
That might be the biggest thing you can do this spring. ~ JC