Last Sunday was unseasonably warm. After a brutal winter, the mercury rose into the mid-50's making it seem downright balmy. I was determined to get my taxes done, but the warm weather became too much to take. Soon and without any regret, I shoved an old Simms wader box, now stuffed with receipts and tax info I was sifting through, into a drawer and headed out. I drove east out into the prairie wondering if I could get any fish to move after our long cold winter. I really didn't care that much, it just felt great to be heading out to fish again… did I mention our long, cold, dark winter?
After a quick inspection, I found the creek to be ice cold and gin clear. Shelves of ice lined the banks and dripped 33 degree water into the stream. I'm always optimistic, but this frigid meltwater had me "pumping the brakes" on any grandiose expectations. I may be optimistic, but I'm not stupid, so I opted for two pair of long John's and 3 pairs of socks under my waders. I could barely move and expected the fish would feel the same way.
First riffle, nothing… the next run, maybe a soft take… through the third slick, nada... into the tailout, my feet were getting numb… when BAM, an 19" brown slammed my prince nymph (which was dropped behind a huge stonefly dry).
Apparently, the water temps nudged up just enough to turn on the fish. What followed was a few perfect hours of very welcomed action. Sometimes the trout hit the nymph, sometimes they slurped up the big stone and sometimes they hit the dry, missed it and were flossed onto the nymph. Great fun! Nothing huge, but each 16-19 inch trout had wintered well and was a great indication of things to come!