Saturday looked like the best of the weekend for a final shot at fishing Spring Creek this season. I’d had good luck here on two previous outings this winter, so I approached the water calmly, ready to accept whatever my fate was dealing. Although the upstate weather forecast had predicted a high around 40 degrees, I would find that intermittent rain and snow squalls put a damper on the pleasure principle.
Last week I’d been taken to task by the midges on the stream. This time I was going to ignore them, more or less, or try to figure an alternative strategy for success. A small hatch of midges did occur at midday, and a few trout sipped at the adults on or near the surface, but the action was minimal enough to stay calm and collected. I was lucky for that. My gloves were in the car (again), and my hands were numb to the point where I would have failed at tying on a 7X leader tippet for the midge-sized artificials.
So I worked at casting tandem flies on a 10-foot leader. With a split-shot pulling down an Egg or a Scud for a point fly, I also drifted an accompanying Pheasant-tail or midge pupa. Eventually I caught and released nine trout, while losing about the same number.
As another angler pointed out, the ones that get away are always big, or special. My favorite of the day was estimated to be around 18 inches long, which means that, in reality, it was close to 16 inches, but felt like a 20 as it rolled the surface water and then absconded with the fly.
As the scientific closure of winter held me in its clutches, the wild browns fed as if spring was all that mattered now.
The Equinox was closing in, at last, and it was time for me to shift attention from these limestone waters. My several sessions here were pleasant ones. My rod of choice had been a mid-flex 8’4″ three-weight. My strategy had been to simulate a heron’s stealth, and to rap my knuckles on a log for luck. Philosophically, my preference to stay focused on the moment gave sway to dreams. Like many northerners, I was more than ready for a change of season.