Today dawned gray and dreary as an abandoned battleship, and just as wet, but the weatherman has promised that Monday will shine like a Marine’s brass buckle. Though I’m already thinking about tomorrow, I won’t spend today indoors.
If a light drizzle ruins everybody else’s day, it will be perfect for a fly fisher armed with tiny blue wing olive dries. The little mayflies love this kind of weather and will hatch all day, taunting rainbow and brown trout until the fish rises to the surface to sip their insolent little bug bodies.
I stood in a Virginia trout stream some years back with such a misty afternoon, stayed in one spot just a few feet from the bank and caught nearly 30 trout. Even the water was muddy, but it mattered little and may, in fact, have helped since the fish couldn’t see me. I was astonished they could see the flies.
Since then I have had many good fishing days when the rain relentlessly pelted my cap like a pecking hen.
There is no such thing as bad weather, I’ve been told. There’s bad fishing gear and good fishing gear, but there is no such thing as bad weather, at least not bad enough to keep me indoors.
If the wind roars and the rain falls sideways, I may spend some time listening to the car radio until it lets up. Then, I’ll be out again.
But I love sponging up rays, too. Blindingly bright days are hard to fish, certainly, but they always feel good after weeks of wetness and cold.
A sun-warmed boulder on a chilly autumn day beats a Lazy Boy recliner.
Monday’s battle plan calls for an assault on the East Fork of the French Broad River, just outside the little town of Rosman.
It’s a Delayed Harvest river, which means fishermen cannot keep their catch during the winter months.
From October until the first Saturday in June, the such rivers are "Catch and Release."
Upon June’s arrival, the trout population begins a rapid reduction.
So, during the winter I always know that stretch of water will have trout. They may not be easy to catch all the time, but sometimes they are.
Usually, it takes a few weeks after the state stocks the stream for the fish to become acclimated.
Most have never even seen a bug, having been raised on little round pellets of trout food, and, no, I do not fish with a fly that resembles trout pellets.
During the past seven years of fishing this river, I’ve discovered there is no reasoning why those fish hit certain flies for a while and then ignore the same flies later.
As a rule, I catch a trout with one fly, then change to another, and catch more fish before changing flies again.
I use a lot of different flies on the DH waters, especially in the early fall. Come spring, they’ll recognize a little yellow stonefly and its bug relatives and the fishing will be entirely different.
Until then, I’ll just keep changing flies over and over.