Last year on February 22nd I was already hitting the creeks. Nothing hot and heavy, but I was seven miles up from the mouth and there were already a few fish around.
This winter I’ve been pretty much a slug. I did a decent job explaining why recently and the more normal weather pattern this year meant more days below freezing. I can’t stand being out in that weather anymore.
I have my own rule that I won’t go out fishing if the temps are below 32 degrees. Dealing with ice in my guides drives me nuts and I simply won’t do it.
This week I had to get out. I had been sitting around all week going stir crazy and since it was a hair above freezing, I had no more excuses.
Last year we had a drought. I did a pretty good job of documenting the effect the drought had on one of my favorite creeks culminating in October with this post. A mile long stretch of the creek had completely dried up.
With the rain and the snow we’ve been getting I knew the creeks were getting back to normal. I thought I may as well go check on the stretch that was dry last year. It too had water in it again, like the drought had never happened.
The following shot was taken on July 29, 2012. Hard to imagine, but by mid October it was even lower, or more dried up I guess.
This shot is of the same spot, different angle. I didn’t have the right boots on to go wandering around in the creek.
All back to normal. I normally don’t take vertical pictures. Something seems unnatural about them. I have a very wide field of vision. While looking straight ahead, I can see nearly 90 degrees in both directions horizontally. Vertically, not so much. It’s just the way we’ve evolved as humans. I think if more predators dropped from the sky to eat our ancestors, we’d have less of a brow and a more vertical field of vision.
So I turned the camera 90 degrees and took a picture of the same spot.
To each their own.
The snow we got the other day was wet, heavy and came in riding strong northeast winds. If you faced south, this became evident with the way the snow clung to the trees and branches.
But if you faced north, you either saw nothing on the trees or just a sliver of white.
Only one other person had been here since it snowed a few days earlier, but the animal tracks were everywhere. Squirrel tracks were easy to figure out, they went from one tree to the next in no discernible pattern.
The raccoons and deer seem to be creatures of habit. They follow the same paths on a regular basis, back and forth to the creek for a drink of water. There were a couple of sets of coyote tracks and they seem to not only follow the other tracks, but wander off into the woods, sometimes digging all the snow away from an area. I’m assuming they’re looking for something that buried themselves in the snow and leaves to get away from the coyotes.
I tried to get pictures of all the different animal foot prints, but the snow was a bit too deep and the depth of the snow obscured the details. They looked like holes in snow.
Next week warmer weather is called for, near 50 for a few days. I’ll be back here then. I have no hopes of catching anything. Fish will return quickly to creeks once they feel the water coming from them, but this is nine miles up from the river and it is still winter. I also don’t think the numbers of fish will be back for another year or two. I’ve seen this happen before.
I swear smallies are like salmon that way. I have no proof of this other than observations made over the years. There are the obvious runs of fish up the creeks in the spring for spawning, but there’s another run that happens in the fall, starting at end of August and lasting almost through October. The fall run is made up of hundreds of smaller fish. I have no clue why this is so consistent from year to year.
At least for the next two or three years I get to play with this little mental game of mine. As long as we keep getting rain.