Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Steel and Ice

The year ended with unseasonably warm temperatures, which made a lot of folks eager to get one more fishing outing in before the calendar flipped. The air temp was 46 degrees as I headed north to the Rocky River before dawn.

The thaw hadn't yet melted the ice on the upper river, but the lower Rocky was pretty open. A few sheets of ice clinging to the bank allowed for the opportunity to not only walk on water, but also float downstream. To the right is Tim as Huck Finn riding an ice raft to parts unknown.

The fishing was expectedly slow. Water temps were just above freezing. The flow was perfect and the water was green in the deeper runs. Shortly after starting I foul hooked a skip jack. About an hour later a big, red striped male inhaled a green, soft hackle nymph that I just started tying. He put up a hearty fight in the cold water, occasionally running under the shelf ice against the far bank. Eventually he ran the line around a branch submerged in the river. I was able to get downstream of the branch to try and clear the line, but my line got snagged up in old fishing line twisted around the branch. The steelhead broke off. In frustration I pulled the large branch out of the river and found a few hooks, a nest of tangled line, about 10 split shot (someone really wanted to get down...) and two spawn bags wrapped around the branch.

Done in by debris.

We didn't see any other fish caught. And two pin fishermen said they only moved one fish.

Regardless, it was still a great morning on the water, and hopefully the weather foreshadowed a mild start to 2011.
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