Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring's teasing me on the river

Like a kid pulling a prank on a neighbor, spring has enjoyed the last month by teasing me with lots of nice, flowerly days during the work week and then rain, snow and cold on my days off when the real important stuff, fly fishing, awaits.

There’s a little more green today in the hills, and Panther Mountain looks more like a handful of paintbrushes dipped in gentle pinks, greens and yellows instead of the pile of old sticks it resembled earlier. Robins dance and sing. The air softens. Fly fishermen tie flies in anticipation of glorious days on the river.

Then spring pulls another prank.
A few weeks ago, after a long week of warm sunshine, I ran into fire hydrant rain on a Sunday and then snow on the third day of spring. The snow was tolerable and the trout were vulnerable.

I caught a ton. I had a box with some tiny midge flies that never saw the light of day, but the black wooly bugger did a number on those trout they likely will not forget. That night, I tied up another dozen black wooly buggers for the next weekend.
Well, we had another wonderful work week full of bluebird skies and puffy white clouds. Spring was teasing again, I figured.

The weekend arrived and the gray sky wept all day Sunday — lousy weather and a lousy prank for the new season to pull — but Monday was not half-bad once the chill in the air subsided. And I was loaded with a box full of black wooly buggers, which figured to be the fly of choice with the water still high from the rain. I figured to tear up some trout lips.

I should have known it would be a weird fishing weekend when I noticed the deer grazing with a neighbor’s cows. What’s she doing there? I wondered. I parked the Troutmobile on the other side of the field, next to the rowdy, rain-swollen river that was clobbering the banks.

If rivers dance to their own tune, then the French Broad was stomping like a drunken clogger on the front porch. It was loud, raucous and remarkably clear. The neighbors had not begun plowing. Too wet, I guess. Perhaps that deer was hanging around until the gardens were ready.

A couple of pit bulls got into the chorus, singing along with the river and annoying me, even though I knew they were just doing their jobs as watchdogs. One came over the bridge to sniff and check me out. We both watched the wooly bugger splash and sink and get lost in the deep pool. We did not see any trout.

Then there was a rise just downstream, like the trout were teasing me too. I saw a big gray mayfly. The wooly bugger came off; the dry fly went on. It worked. As the sun winked in and out all day, teasing with its warm rays, I teased trout with a dry fly.

Fish shredded that fly to rags. The rainbow trout were acrobatic and the browns, sporting spawning color, fought like bulldogs gnawing on a bone.
It never got warm. Spring stayed just outside the door, ready to pop out the next day as I drove back to work.

This week I figure we can stop the pranks. I’m expecting a huge mayfly hatch.
Don’t tease me again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late. ....................................................