Fresh Powder, Dry Flies

I called Kym from Monarch around the middle of the day for a weather report, trying to decide if I should stay where I was, taking face shots of fresh powder in the trees, or head down to the river to fish for the afternoon. “I’d say it would be a good time to fish. It looks like its snowing all around, but down here its overcast and calm. Not too cold either.”

Bless her. While she may occasionally roll her eyes in pity and perplexity at my fishing escapades, she knows good hatch weather when she sees it. Loading my board up in the back of my truck, I headed down the pass, a quick change into waders at home, and off to the river. My mission was to catch a fish on a dry fly. It was March 1, after all, enough of nymphing already.

It seemed like a great day for a midge hatch, so I figured if I wanted to find some surface feeders, I’d need to locate a spot where the water was slow and deep, and sheltered from any wind that might blow a hatch off the water. There’s a place just below town that meets those criteria, and has delivered for me in the past. I’d not been standing on the bank two minutes when I saw the first rise, quickly followed by several others.

So far, so good. The next step was to actually catch one. My experience of fishing such situations is that with all that calm, clear, slow moving water, the fish can be fairly finicky, not to mention spooky. After ten minutes of no action on a parachute gnat, I tied on a small Griffiths gnat behind, using the parachute to sight my flies in the gloom, avoiding using floatant on the Griffiths to get it down in the surface film.

Straight away, the action picked up, and over the next half hour I landed four nice rainbows, and got spanked by several more. By this stage, it was late afternoon, my feet were cold, the clouds were lowering and wisps of snow swirled about. Time to head home to the hearth and contemplate a red letter day – fresh powder in the morning, dry flies in the afternoon.

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