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Week of February 18th: Mid-Winter Break

I have to stop getting ahead of myself.  Dreams of Ephemerella dance in my mind’s eye every time I drive over a bridge.  BWOs aside, the mayflies are still percolating in the debris down deep. Living in the present is a much more productive way to fish and there is a lot happening down with the mayfly nymphs.

It would be impossible to mention or precisely predict, week to week, every pattern that is going to work, when, and where in the winter. The patterns I return to are reliable and come from what I have read before and try as often as I can. 

But one this report overlooks is Waltz’s Worm developed by Walt Yang of Pennsylvania, in the 1980’s. The Sexy Walt’s is a souped up version developed by Loren Williams.   This past Tuesday, after the snow storm, I got out after some shoveling and sledding.  The Musky was gin clear and, by quarter to four, the branches were dropping globs of slush in audible “plops” into a flow that has finally reached typical levels for February. I seemed to be the only angler out and I had forgotten my camera in the pocket of the jacket I wore for the other winter activities. Of course, I am familiar with the well-heeled phrase that calls out hyperbolic fish stories:         

“No photo-no fish.” 

I will spare you the dimensions and the tale.  I will suggest trying your luck with a Walt’s on a day like Tuesday: Gin clear, good flow, and an upwards swinging temperature from mid-thirties Fahrenheit to forty degrees Fahrenheit. 

Now, it is nearly 5am on Saturday and I am about to go shovel again as a little clipper is cruising through the Highlands. The stoneflies Plecoptera are starting to show up if you look closely; the white snow banks offer relief to the naiads (nymphs) who are among the few that perform the final molt on land (rather than the water’s surface, like my beloved mayflies). In fact, stoneflies are not true flies but are in the order Plecoptera and are an ancient animal. Their folded wings reveal veins giving them the appearance of a lattice, the Greek plektos, meaning twisted or braided, gives them the name, at least according to the Adirondack Almanac.

Last week I heard tell of another local great, Matt Grobert, who used a skittering stonefly to claim a February catch on the surface! Matt will be joining us Sunday, March 10th, at 10am for our second Signature Tyer Series. Sign up here!

Visit Troutnut, a great resource to bookmark.  The explanation of behavior and incredible pictures aid me in my trying and writing this report. Credit, of course, where credit is due!

Midwinter was February 3rd this year.  Spring is thirty one days away; April is forty-four days away.  Fish each day in the present.

See you out there,

Roy B.


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