Thursday, January 26, 2012

Open Water!

Stillwater beckoning in January
Finding open water on a lake above 7000 feet during January in Wyoming can be a bit difficult.  Warm weather and heavy winds can quickly change conditions on the plains lakes and with the right combination, it can be worth heading out and scouting around for any fishable water.  I took off and drove a circuit of the plains lakes, finding open water on a couple but it was too shallow to fish or too hard to get to without extreme effort.  Some lakes were still 100% capped as well.  My luck prevailed though, and my last chance stillwater had a wide swath of open water on the north side of the lake.  The wind was howling but I quartered my casts into it and managed to get some decent drifts with the nymphing rig.  I was day dreaming a bit when the first strike sent lightning back up the line and I missed the hookset on the first active trout.  After that jarring take I paid better attention to the indicator and started to pick up fish.  There was no mistaking their strikes as they were cruising through the open water and actively feeding.  Long underwear under my waders and pants prolonged my ability to stay and wade but finally I could take no more of the high winds whipping up white caps on the sliver of open water.  I headed back to town thinking about the coming spring and the inevitable open water it brings with it.

A healthy brown trout to start the day

Ice ledges ringing the lake

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little Winter Gems

A meandering walk searching the holding water and deep pools with the fly rod produced a few gem sized brown trout this afternoon.  Trout like this warm the soul of an angler in the short light of a January day.  Every day is one step closer to spring.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dawn On The Ice

Moon shining through the sunrise
George and I hit the ice early this morning in search of lake trout.  Sunrise on the ice was beautiful to watch and we had a good day with numerous rainbows, browns, and even a sneaky cutthroat in the mix.  We didn't find any of the large macks we went searching for but enjoyed ourselves in the ice shanty nonetheless.  I brought home a few rainbows in the 16 inch range for the grill in the evening and they were delicious.

Sunrise on the ice

First cutthroat of the new year

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Browns

There are a few brown trout to be had out there on the seams this winter.  The three weight and a leech makes for a nice walk on the moving water this January.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Icy Guides And Brown Trout

I managed an afternoon-to-sunset brown trout stalk tonight.  The fish were fairly skittish in the low, clear water and I spooked out a couple on bungled approachs.  Finally, the sun faded away behind the mountains and things turned on as the relative safety of darkening skies got the browns interested in chasing the leech.  Another fun evening slinging the three weight.  The only drawback was 20-25 degree temperatures had me chipping ice out of the guides often enough to remind me it was still January.
Sun fading on the water
A brown trout with a beautiful spotting pattern

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Trip Of 2012

Even as woefully behind on the blog as I am (expect some coming historical post to catch up on the fall season), the draw of a new trip in the new year was too much to resist.  I was out the door and scouting water on a day that felt down right balmy for January.

I managed to nab the sometimes elusive first fish on the fly for the 2012 season.  A nice brown trout.... hopefully a good omen for the new year.
First fish of 2012
The first two fish hookups on the day I managed to LDR.  They were nicer browns and hot dancers on the three weight.  It was just an all around beautiful day to be out and about - sunny, windless and 50 degrees.  I missed a few other strikes and of course spooked out a few fish here and there.  It felt like April and all I could think about was the coming of spring.  There will be more winter to come, but a few days like this sprinkled in amongst the storms will help me bide my time until the inevitable blossoms of spring.
Another pretty brown trout on the hot head leech