|Snow on the Mountain|
|Chilly day on the river|
Once I set this as my goal, I struggled a little to decide what kind of limits to place on myself. My favorite type of fishing is catching wild trout on dry flies, but I also wanted to make my goal achievable. I figured that the chances of our wild trout streams fishing well enough to catch trout in the dead of winter were pretty slim, and the chance of any trout being willing to rise to a dry fly in near-freezing water temperatures were slimmer still. So with that in mind, I decided that my "rules" for this would be that it must be a trout of any species, and that it had to be caught on a fly using a fly rod. I also decided not to limit myself to just North Carolina waters, because I do occasionally fish out of state, especially in Pennsylvania when we go visit my wife's family up there.
With all these things in mind, and with the remnants of three inches or so of snow on the ground, I set out yesterday afternoon with my brother in law to see if we could catch the year's first trout. Yesterday promised warmer temperatures than we have had so far in January, with the high reaching into the lower 50's, so I had hope that the warmer weather might have the trout slightly more active. I decided to give the delayed harvest section of the local state park a try, figuring that the higher elevation streams would be even colder and less likely to fish well. This particular stream gets stocked with trout in October and November, and then again in March, April, and May with catch and release only regulations in effect from October to June. I figured there would be some trout to be found, even with the last stocking occurring the first week of November.
|This pool held a few trout|
|First trout of 2018|
|January Trout Closeup|
Even though the fishing was slow, it was a nice way to cure the cabin fever brought on by too much time indoors. We got to enjoy solitude in a normally crowded and popular park, and also had a chance to fish with snow on the ground which is a fairly unusual circumstance for us. More than anything yesterday was a learning experience for me, and one that I hope will add just a little to my knowledge of trout fishing. I do believe that I may have to spend more time on the stream during the cold months from now on. It was a challenging and rewarding day, even though I only caught one fish. For me fishing and hunting have never been about the numbers caught or harvested, but instead about the time spent enjoying the great outdoors. I can't wait to get back out there and do it again.