March is a half-a-glass sort of month: Full some days, empty the others. The first snows are magical. The last few can be tortuous. This week’s forecast is mediocre, so I’m happy the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo is this weekend. In the winter, we ask: Are you going fishing today? In the spring, we just ask where. Spring is coming but it’s…not…quite…here…yet.
This past week was beautiful. The fishing wasn’t great. The water temps are pretty cold for the water height. High water is good when the water temps are warmer. When the water temps are cold, I like lower water. But some great fish were caught. Not a lot. But enough. That’s often how March is.
John with a portly friend
This same day I floated upper river with Sheets and the brave, somewhat cold 7-year old Holden and the high skies and east wind made it pretty difficult. The first hour of the float the river was dead: we didn’t even spook a fish out of the middle. But then we kicked a few trout off the sand, and they started flashing at a streamer but wouldn’t really eat. We switched to nymphs so Holden could do some fishing and he hooked one on an egg, but it, like the rest of the fish that day, managed to stay in the water. In July it would have been pretty crappy to get skunked. In March, with a sweet sunset, it didn’t feel all that bad.
Still, skunk does leave a bad taste in my mouth. The next day was too cloudy to pass up, even for an hour, so I headed to the South Branch with my wading belt cinched tight and did one of my favorite winter wades at what I thought would be prime time. It wasn’t. The water felt cold and high and I focused on the backwaters almost exclusively and — same old story — was just about to quit when a nice trout ate from edge of the slow water. Which of course got me pumped up and I waded way downstream and even shipped water over my waders and never moved another fish but, again, that’s March.
Enthusiasm for snow, at least around here, wanes the instant it’s gone. It becomes like a chronic pain, a recurring back ache, the proverbial there goes my sciatica. The beauty of course is knowing that at some point there will be one last snow. That spring will break free, as if from the frozen ground. We’re still a month and a half away from real dry fly fishing. But…we did see a trout sipping midges on that skunky float this past Saturday. It was a beautiful rise, on the soft outside of a pool where trout are known to do such things. And while it’s rare, that’s a part of March too.
We have a lot of GREAT events coming up:
Brats and Beers, March 17, 5 pm – 8 pm
Spend dinner with Odd Side Ales brewer Eric Janson and chef Matt for beer tasting, sausage-making and cooking demo, recipe list and a brewing presentation followed by a special St. Patrick’s-ish dinner. Scotch eggs, Guinness Braised Corned Beef, a selection of three fresh-made sausages, smoked chicken cassoulet, with beer and wine pairings. Tasting pours included.
March 17, 5 pm – 8 pm, Limit 25 people, $35/person
Email [email protected], or call us at 989 348 8462, to make reservations
Here is a full link to our many schools, events, and demo days: www.gateslodge.com/events
We have three schools upcoming:
March 31 and April 1 – Nymph fishing the Au Sable with Jordan Klemish and Dennis Nelson: Learn how to really nymph fish the Au Sable by the guys who have cut through the stuff you read in books and know how to do it.
April 7 – Streamer Techniques with Alex Lafkas: Alex is a streamer guru. You’ll learn theory, presentation, casting…and then have a half-day float putting these techniques into action.
April 21 – Wade Streamer Techniques with Alex Lafkas: Ever get frustrated trying to wade and fish streamers? This class will show you how to do it right, and with confidence.
And a great Banquet for one of our great local TU Chapters: