And then…there was twenty-inches of snow on the ground!  The mild winter continues, but it hasn’t been too mild.  We’ve had a few cold nights, some ice in the river, some stuck vehicles.  Between a few snowstorms the sun has been shining happily.  Another warm-up is headed our way this weekend.  There’s a nice rhythm to this winter.  I like it.

Matt and I made it out for a very cold and windy day of streamer fishing on Tuesday.  We thought we’d see a tree fall, and we did…but way too close for comfort.  Good thing it fell the other way, because it was big enough that if it hit the back of the boat, the front man would have been projected skyward.  The trout weren’t particular on streamer color, but they were definitely in the backwaters.  They fought hard for winter trout.  Gloves, no gloves: that wind burned with cold.

We’ve floated the same stretch two weeks in a row now and both times we saw the same female wood duck.  The vast majority of wood ducks are about three-full-days drive south of here.  This one stayed and now really doesn’t have a choice but to ride out the winter.  She’s here until spring, like us.  Can’t help but feel a kinship.

It’s good to get outside.  Some of you will know exactly what made these tracks.  

On our streamer float, we saw three bald eagles flush from a mid-river island.  I didn’t get a picture of them, but they were taking turns feeding on a submerged deer carcass.

Notice all the snow packed down on the log

The fishing has been pretty good this week:

And it should be pretty good fishing this weekend as the weather warms.  The big rainbows will be moving upriver with this next warm-up and they’ll keep increasing in numbers through early and mid-March.  Because of this, I always have a bright nymph on this time of year.  Lightning Bug, Psycho Prince, Red Copper John, etc.

I’m pretty ready for dry fly fishing.  You?  I just got done re-re-reorganizing my dry flies.  I’m thinking the next good warm sunny day we should start seeing some stoneflies.  Winter fishing is fun, but it’s still the off-season.

A couple of notes on our schedule:

The restaurant is closed this weekend, 2/21- 2/23 .  We’ll reopen next weekend, 28th-30th.

This Saturday’s Free Fly Tying is a go.  We’re going to be tying in the Gates Lodge restaurant for a change of scenery.  Lance and I will be ready to help you tie some bugs!   Remember, we have materials and vises and tools if you need.  We’re here to help, be it your first fly, or your thousandth.  9 am – 1 pm.  Questions?  Send me an email at [email protected]

We still have space in our next two fly tying classes. 

Hex — 2/29: Learn to tie our go-to hex flies.  We’ll share some stories, flies, and know-how.

Terrestrials — 3/7: Au Sable terrestrial opportunities are different than just splatting hoppers along the bank.