We wrap up the fall, and then wrap up for winter. The first snow – one inch, last night – serves as fair warning that it’s time to cover, tarp and otherwise takedown. To this end, the restaurant will be closing at 11 am after we serve breakfast on Sunday. Shortly after, we’ll drain the first and third buildings, and enter our winter mode: 4 rooms open, fly shop hours from 9 am – 2 pm, an updated online and print catalog (sign up below), lots and lots of fly tying, a more fortnightly Fortnight Fly, and plenty of winter nymphing and streamer fishing and general winter solitude.
I’m always sad to see season go, but enjoy this quiet time. It divides life into two, and the two really don’t overlap. The lodge becomes a half-lit place next to a sleepy river. At first the quiet is nice. By February, one thinks of croaking frogs, mayflies, and friends.
The good news is that this weekend is more fall and less winter. The streamer fishing has been very good on the cloudy days, tough on the sunny ones. But I expect some excellent fishing over the next two weeks leading into deer season as the spawning season begins and the males continue to want to kill everything they can. Some folks will take this time of year off, and I respect that, but I’ve never caught a big female his time of year, and I think, considering that the spawn lasts nearly a month, that there are always plenty of trout around that are either pre or post-spawn. Not to mention the rainbows that have nothing more on their minds than food:
With the warmer weather, there should also be some afternoon blue wing olive hatches. The best areas to find this fun little bug are the flat water stretches of the South Branch, the upper Holy Waters, and the upper North Branch. It requires fine tippet, long casts, and a gentle touch. In other words, it’s a far cry from the streamer you just cut off when you started seeing the fish rise.
We have a few open rooms left for our last weekend. We’ll have Matt’s locally famous duck on the menu both Friday and Saturday nights (or while supplies last…which won’t be long). It’ll be a nice goodbye to a very nice season.
It’s been a great fall in the field. This spring I lost my #1 hunting dog Rua to cancer after twelve great years. I bought him in the Gates Lodge parking lot when we’d just returned from New Zealand. I remember his first pointed grouse and his last pointed grouse. Dogs mark the changes in life most poignantly. Three house changes, one job change, and two kids later we lost Rua, and this summer we welcomed Peggy von Altmoor (we call her “Finny”) into our house. The destruction began inside, but watching her come along in the woods and with the kids has been a riot. She pointed and retrieved her first grouse and woodcock this fall and thought it was about the most fun thing in the world. So did I.
This will be our second year of producing a print catalog for those that still check their mailboxes! Good back of the toilet material, if nothing else. This is a print catalog, so we’ll need your mailing address. Email it to me at [email protected] to get on the list! Our Fall Holiday Catalog should be out by mid-November.