Winter solace isn’t supposed to mean ‘cold, and sans fish’

Cold Rod

I spent roughly four hours today playing winter river commando. Ducking behind rocks and blending into tree shadows cast by a low sun. Slipping on ice, tucking hands into jacket, and repeatedly coming up short on casts when ice magically appeared on guides that moments before were clear as a summer day. You know the drill.

I expected there to be a few people out – we haven’t had a storm in what seems like weeks, and the temps were supposed to climb into the high 30’s. From the looks of the banks, the section I did icicle dancing on was well traveled. But I’d been there before when it was shoulder to shoulder, and was plenty fine with taking my fair share and moving on. Today, I not only didn’t get as much as a look, but the temperature was still lingering around 30f when I got back to the truck.

What did I throw today…Mysis, San Juans in red, pink, and purple, a tungsten-weighted golden stone, Black Beauties down to size 24, Discos in three colors (and in the same size range), Black and Red Jujubees (yep, tiny), and a few darker WD-40s that were so small I generally stuff two in each slot in my box. Zero, zip, nada for fish.

Frozen laces

By 2pm I had plenty of sun on my cheeks, and headed back to the truck for some grub. Thereafter three more vehicles pulled up, and out jump four humans apiece already donning waders. I decided I’d write the afternoon off (or what was left of it, since the glorious sun would be disappearing behind the mountaintops in another hour anyway). I broke down the gear and then reached for my bootlaces – they were still frozen stiff. So, I had to stand in the middle of the lot facing the sun for another ten minutes in order to thaw. I eat slow – high 30’s my ass.

Before I left I called a friend who’d being hunting out on the eastern plains, to see how they had done. He told me they’d bagged precisely nothing, and on account of the weather. Said it was too warm! Had we been forced to live off the land, the sign on the kitchen door would say ‘closed’ right about now.

Nevertheless, I’ve dodged cabin fever for another week or two – and frankly, I’m not really complaining about the cold as much as the lack of action – the latter just means I get to continue having nightmares (of popped tippets) and hallucinations (of angry browns attacking me with piranha-like frenzy) until the next try.