It seems every year I express my odd but nonetheless true love of the cold and the quiet on our beloved rivers. The gentle falling of an afternoon snow, the silent content of being on a stretch of water that has all but been abandoned by those seeking the warmth and sun elsewhere and the patient sometimes nerve wracking belief of.....fish on the feed while they make their inevitable journey back to deeper waters. Many of you no doubt are thinking about the mountain, Powder and great sessions with great friends. I cannot and will not argue ! But this time of year things....slow down.... for me.
They slow down in thread wraps on spey flies, They slow in the anchor of a cast to a deep pool and the realization of my own solitude on a river that for half the year is all sounds and sunshine........ and is now......quiet. But quiet might not be correct. There is the sound of our river. There is the sound of waders wrapped in the cold glacial blanket of water rushing past. There is the sound of a flock of mergansers hauling ass away from their potential fate. And there is the sound of a 420 grain Skagit head tearing away from the water. And yes there is the sound of....me....and lost fish and ones landed !
The title of this post is not an attempt to lull you into some sort of winter slumber... no no. Or to showcase some new flies. But hopefully to inspire all of you to go out and find your own.......cold weather quiet. The summer is gone. But do not despair, it will return ! And for those willing to embrace the chill, this season is just beginning ! Fish are moving ...and eating. You just have to get out there and find them. Many of our cutthroat are beginning to head back to the warmer depths of Flathead Lake. And some are hanging out. But they all must eat. Our weather change and change in water temperature has no doubt got the gears turning in the brains of our fishy friends. And now is a great time to capitalize on this. Nymphing is king when the weather and water gets cold. No matter how you feel about it, drag free drifts into slow deep pools are the ticket. There are opportunities for dry fly eats yes and I commend those that get them ! But for all you lovers of the swing this is my favorite time to get it done. Do not let the Minutia and intricacies of the two handed world deter you from getting in on this if its your first go around. No two-hander NO PROBLEM. A good 6 wt rod with a sink tip and your in business . I usually run a 3 ft section of 0X -2X flurocarbon leader to my fly.....Done. And flies ? Probably my favorite pattern in the colder months is our beloved polar chenille leech. Easy to tie and super effective. Olive, Brown, Light olive, try a few.
And most of all ....... slow down. Fish every drift with patience and confidence knowing that when the tug does come ( In my Texas accent that comes out all too often) "It aint gonna be small."
If you should ever need further assistance in any matters of the "swing" please don't hesitate to stop in and have a cup of coffee with us and chat. We would love to answer any questions and help however we can. And if that new switch or spey set up has been burning a hole in your mind, we can definitely help there as well ! So in closing on this cold night I hope that all of you are reading this someplace warm, With people that you love and your favorite beverage at your side. I hope that your thoughts as you drift off to sleep linger on a tight line swing that erupt in the exaltation of a solid hook set. And I hope that you wake up the next day and make those thoughts come to life !