|this time last year|
I try to be upbeat about the fishing opportunities found each month, they are to be had. But when December comes, there's no pretending anymore. The cold is here, and it wants to eat your heart. There are no good days anymore, just the encroaching cold and darkness, short days, the icy grip of the longest season. December is as bad as it gets. Here in Michigan, a lot of streams are closed until the end of April, the fish have gone dormant anyways, and the weather is typically horrid- cold, windy, lots of snow. By the end of the month the ice fishermen will be out in force, which doesn't bode well for the fly fishing prospects.
I am, of course, a fear mongering hypocrite. After all, I've fished six of the last eight days, and caught a couple of small (baby) steelhead, and a bunch of decent trout. All on egg patterns while fishing for steelhead. If you ask me, the first two weeks of December seem to be just as good as the November fishing, but it depends on how cold it gets, how fast. This year, it has been unseasonably warm. I may yet catch my chrome siren.
|oh sweet siren, how I love thee...|
I've had my chances and haven't done my part. I've hooked up on at least three good steelhead so far this month, and each has come unpinned in the first couple of head shakes. I lost five in one day last December. Or to be more accurate, five in two hours. I'm feeling a little snake bit on the fall steelies. Why do I tend to hook up on spring fish and not fall fish? I'm fishing the same patterns. I think I'm doing the same things. Or am I?
|remember these days?|
All that is gone, and until then we have to survive. And we will, we always do. Most of you are so caught up in the holiday season, that fishing is an afterthought anyways. When we get a break, we'll read our favorite magazines, books, and blogs. This is the time of year we start to get serious about fly tying. My tying desk is a mess right now, with too many materials packed into too little space. I'll have to do something about that. Maybe after I get some more fishing in. I'm going to make it a point to watch as many videos online as possible, learn some new techniques, new patterns, broaden my tying horizons.
There's a couple of warmer days coming up, so hopefully I'll get back out there. My favorite steelhead river freezes up so solid that the locals ice fish for them. The other rivers develop extensive shelf ice, making the fishing challenging to impossible. When that happens, I'll sit down at my vise, and start plotting for the time when the rivers flow free, the mayflies hatch, and the trout look up.
|a fate I can live with|
I had thought of including a winter to-do list here, but I don't think I can do any better than Alex Cerveniak. In addition to his own blog, he now is running jaysoutdoornews.com. This post has an exhaustive rundown of what you need to do before next season.