I am NOT a morning person at all but this was the light show I got yesterday while having coffee. With the time change and a busy work schedule, I haven't been able to get out to the river during the week so I decided to go last night. I was thinking about it all week long and yesterday seemed to drag on forever. Finally, the busses came and I was able to head out. My plan was to throw streamers way past sunset for some bigger browns. Before the sun went down behind the Divide, the temp was 33 so I knew it was going to be tough. Within an hour the temp had dropped to 29 and things totally changed.
When you're fishing with a nymph rig (totally sub-surface) you're making short casts and you're not really stripping line in through the rod guides. With streamers, there's a lot of line coiled up by your feet and your casting it (sometimes as much as 70 feet) and then you're stripping it in and rinsing/repeating or taking a few steps or picking it all up and moving to the next spot. When it's that cold the issue becomes the water on the fly line freezing after stripping it in or during the back cast. As you strip the line in, the water collects on the rod guides and they ice up (sometimes so much that ice builds up and completely blocks the guides). When that happens there's only a few things you can do. Sometimes you can hold the rod down in the water where it's a few degrees warmer and you can go back to work. Sometimes, you can use Pam or something similar to keep the ice from building up. Sometimes you have to bite or suck on the ice or just keep breaking it off with your fingers. Last night was cold enough that I was able to make one cast but everything would freeze while stripping line in and I'd have to de-ice before making another cast. Very frustrating. I did this for several hours before finally giving up and calling it a night.
It was good to get out for Happy Hour even though I didn't get into any trout. I did see some big fish tearing up bait fish or probably crawfish. It's maddening when you can't make a quick cast because you're too busy having a river popsicle (as tasty as they all were).