Happy New Year!  Several snowstorms combined to provide a nice blanket of snow in, and on, the woods.  The river is flowing just about everywhere the river typically flows:  Hardly even a sliver of shelf ice.  A nice mild winter is good for the trout and good for the spirits.  The cross-country skiing has been excellent for the last few weeks and I’ve spent a lot of time doing that with my family.  We’re surrounded by groomed and ungroomed trails.  My kids are just fast enough that I can’t lap them on a three mile loop, which means either they are getting faster, I am getting slower, or, most likely, both.

I’ve been experimenting with fishing a streamer upstream.  It’s not a new technique to me, but it’s one that I’ve used only on a whim.  This winter, with the introduction of some new tying materials that piqued my interest, I thought perhaps I’d give it more attention and so far it has proven both fruitful and intriguing, and I’m anxious for further development and testing!  The advantage is stealth, and in the colder or high water conditions, to be able to really fish the insides of the bends and those midstream slots that the wading angler simply can’t avoid spooking.  It’s a nice, methodical way to spend an hour or two.

An unimaginative prototype

So far the best fly has been using the Spawn 90-degree shank with weighted eyes or the big slotted beads also from Spawn.  The fast sink helps establish tension with the fly immediately, and prevents the current from rushing it right back to me.  On the most recent afternoon, a nice trout ate between the two downstream logs in a jam, just off the rod tip.  It was a quick little wade, and a nice day-making trout.  The advantage of such presentations is you can hold the fly along a log jam, a drop-off, or along and undercut.  It’s nothing new, just new to me, and I’m hoping to gain some confidence with it this winter and spring.  Once the fish start rising, however, I guess that’ll be just about it!

The day maker, in the fin

The river is in excellent shape but this snow is greasy, and packy, and it’s easy to get stuck.

Be well, and safe, and enjoy the winter.