Saturday, March 19, 2011

Open Water

Last week, I drove to Poughkeepsie. A 7 a.m. meeting had me on the road early and as I drove west on Interstate 84 the sky lightened behind me. I crossed the East Branch of the Croton River just as the light of dawn was beginning to fill the valley and in my headlights I swore I saw the fluttering of a Caddis as it careened in only the way that a Caddis does. Spring is damn close.

Ice out
More than anything, early Spring fishing means taunting Blue Gills in a farm pond down the road. Usually by this time of year the water is open and starting to warm on account of the dark muddy bottom that is the hallmark of farm ponds everywhere. Last weekend the ice started to recede and by mid-week a raft of frozen water bobbed far from shoreline.

On Thursday evening my 11 year old son called just as I was passing the pond on my way home. He too knew that the pond had cleared. He too felt the tug of open water.

I'm a trout fisherman, generally. I'm not against targeting other species but the rhythm and ritual of trout fishing is what brings me peace on the water. For Connecticut-based trout fisherman though, this has been a long winter. It's not been as frigid as winters past but deep snow and unusually high water have made winter fishing opportunities scarce. That itch hasn't been scratched in a long time.

More so this year than the in past the gap between winter and spring means dreaming of the season to come more than actually fishing. However, this gap will soon be neatly filled by territorial and seemingly suicidal Blue Gills guarding their breeding grounds. And I can always rely upon Sam to remind me when that season is upon us.

On the way back from an errand this morning Sam and I stopped by the farm pond. We gazed into the water trying to discern any movement or the saucer sized redds. Nothing yet. But Spring is gaining momentum. Good fishing is coming soon.

So, I've dug out some small poppers. A few bushy dries. And the bright nymphs we'll hang as droppers. Next week I'll even put a few rods in the car so that we're doubly ready should the winds be calm on an early spring evening and the surface of a farm pond be dimpled with the swirls of Blue Gills thinking of the future.