Last Saturday I made a brief visit to Naples Creek. The signs weren’t looking good. Again I found low clear water, which means poor fishing on the Finger Lake tributaries for anyone looking to find larger trout. And then the snow and wind intensified.
Predictions for the holiday week were dour: cold and snowy, with the fly-fishing season placed on hold. Leighanne and the kids would visit friends and family in Virginia. I elected to stay home to keep the fire burning (and the animals fed) and then to join my sister’s family, along with brother and mom, for a day of feasting. I would miss my chance to autumn fly-fish in the southern mountains where the wife and kids were visiting, but I would try not to complain. After all, the fall season had been excellent until now, and the sudden ice and snow (which used to be the norm) seemed a small price to pay for all the good times spent outdoors in recent weeks.
I don’t know if my fly-fishing is an “addiction,” or not, but observers might very well say it is. It seems that if I don’t get my massive quota of days per year on the stream, then something is out of whack. “Something” is off the rails, and it can’t be me, correct? Sure, I fuss about the “down time.” I’ll look at the broken fly rod that needs repair. I’ll tie a few soft-hackle flies and dream about the excellent caddis hatches found a couple of months ago. I’ll pick up an old fly-fishing book and reread a certain chapter for the nineteenth time. I’ll check the weather forecasts for another upcoming week and wonder if I’ll really feel like casting when there’s ice forming in the rod guides.
I don’t know if this is an addiction or not, but it feels as though it could be. There’s no halfway house for me. I’ll just have to open up some unused doorways in my life while keeping one foot in that doorway known as “fishing.” For truth be told, I can’t just pack it all away and go “cold turkey.”
I’m reminded that I’ll soon be at a table where the roast turkey will be passed around, and where I’ll join family members I haven’t seen in a while. I’m not a big fan of holiday bird but I’ll probably take a slice to be congenial. It’ll be good to step outside the usual parameters and to sit with people who are kin. And when the talk begins to slip and slide into the shadowy realms of politics and social media, I’ll go tight-lipped as a wary brown trout and be thankful to have had a good year fishing. I’ll try to appreciate all family and friends, and be damned grateful to have them around.