Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow on the Rose River

A few nights of VERY cold temps had my friends Kevin, Bill and I a little concerned about ice on our schedule trip to Rose River Farm. But it was only down around zero for a couple nights, and the day before we went, it was back up around freezing. There was some ice around the edges, but the flow was very good and the fish were - as they always are - present.

It was pretty cold early on, but thankfully there was no wind. I've fished at the Farm enough to know where large populations of fish live, and it was funny how we would look off the bank into a hole and see maybe one or two fish. Maybe spook one and not see it till it moved. Then the sun would come out for a few minutes and the bottom of the river would be covered with fish we couldn't see a moment ago. It's neat to see so many nice sized trout in one place, but it is kind of depressing to realize you've been drifting a fly over a pod of about forty trout for a half hour without so much as a nibble.

But it warmed up a bit and the fish started biting. Then around mid-day we got a really cool little snow shower! I very much wanted to catch a fish in the snow, but it didn't last long and it seemed to shut the fish down for a bit. Maybe a barometric pressure thing, I'm not sure.

In the end, we caught plenty of fish and in many different ways. I caught fish on nymphs, san juan worms and wooly buggers sub surface, but also with a small caddis and a griffith's gnat on the surface. Kevin had a lot of success with the gnats.

Winter fishing at Rose River Farm is a lot of fun, I never used to consider the possibility of dry fly fishing in January, but I caught at least as many off the top as sub-surface. Another winter fishing note: I overdressed for the weather with a nice pair of neoprene waders and was toasty warm all day. The kind with the boots built in are WAY warmer than the stocking foot kind. You sacrifice some mobility, but if you want to be warm all day standing in near freezing water, it's worth it!