Wednesday, November 2, 2011

  The "Snow Months" for most people means hunting big Mulies in the mountains, Whitetails in the hardwoods, Elk in the foothills, hunters freezing their butts off in a duck blind waiting for the skies bring forth our favorite feathered table fair or simply huddling around the tv watching football glad we have the heaters set to 85 degrees.  Not me, I think about the four magical months where trout fishing in California can be one of the most memorable adventures an angler can have and not a sole in sight.  Snow shoeing for 2 miles into an area usually does not appeal to many people nor does camping in 16 degree weather.  But for me it does.

  Last January I was introduced to to a new facet to fly fishing by my two slightly insane fishing buddies.  The conversation started with something like, "Hey, lets go camping in the back of my truck in the middle of January in the snow, ya it 16 degrees at night, but hey no one will be there fishing."  Something like that at least, details are a little fuzzy.  Long story short, we rolled in late at night, parked on the side of the road and slept till the morning.  Oh wait, thats not right, we went for a 3 hour snow shoeing death march into the night looking for the hot springs that we never found.  Fun times.

  All that aside, the fun, the camaraderie, the frost bite, the next morning we geared up and trekked into a now isolated creek that seemed to be untouched by anglers.  I wont say the fishing was off the charts, but it was fun to be able to fishing with snowshoes strapped to your back and at times on your feet.  The nice thing about Hot Creek near Mammoth Lakes, CA is that the streams have thermal hot springs and that means the fish are a little more active during the winter.  And after a day of creek crossing, deep snow and tying on the smallest flies in our arsenal we ended with a sigh of accomplishment victory.  We even ended up staying the night in a guys house that we met on the stream that day.  Let me tell you that it is much warmer sleeping by a wood stove then spooning your fishing buddies in the back of a Toyota Tundra.

  So as the fall leaves turn to gold, orange and crimson, and most outdoors men are settling into the doldrums of winter, I am anxiously awaiting the death marches in the snow.  It may not always be the best of fishing, but how many people can say they have been fly fishing in the middle of the winter with snowshoes?  So if you don't here from me from January to March, it is a good bet I am wading a stream somewhere in the Eastern Sierras meditating on the rhythmic motion of the rod and the song of the river.

The Bearded Boar


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