Time is running out. The lakes are beginning to lock up and the river banks have started to form a crust of shore ice. Snow is on the ground with more on the way. Usually this would not bring the death knell to the roughfisher. To the contrary, this is the time when you bust out the cold weather gear and heat packs for the hands. You bust out the Chapstick, Pam, Armour All, whatever trick you have up your sleeve to minimize ice build up on your guides. This is when the big gals come out to play fo' real; during normal flows.
Maybe I'm getting soft, but the record flows blasting through the Otter Tail are nothing sort of frustrating. As it is no longer possible to wade most reaches, flows are six times the median for this time of year. I shudder to think what flow will be like this winter and next spring. If the long term forecast of a La Niña winter hold true, then below average temps and above average snowpack will surely lead to a spring and summer of high flows. Again. I don't mind freezing the nards off if the water is low and clear and the fish are schooled up and concentrated as is typical in low winter flows. But as tough as it was this summer and fall to conjure up the fish from the depths, it is not going to get any easier this winter. I will not torture myself in the bitter wind and cold for naught.
Unless there is an prolonged warm spell this winter with temps above freezing and lower flows (not bloody likely), I'm done for the season. That's always a bitter pill to swallow. Better to wash it down with some suds and cherish a satisfying 2010 season full of new adventures and experiences and many new friends. Here's to a fine season of fly fishing in 2011.
Á votre santé!
Á la votre!